A Recount of the Viral Video of an Indian Teen Being Bullied



The photo above is a set of screenshots of when Shaan’s classmate was digging his elbow into Shaan’s neck.

Anvi Bhagavatula, Photojournalist

Shaan Pritmani, a middle schooler in Coppell, Texas, recently went viral with a video of him being bullied by his classmate. The video starts off with another student standing above Shaan’s seat, taunting him physically by poking him without permission, etc. A few moments later, it becomes clear the other student wants Shaan’s seat. Shaan seems to respond by saying there is an empty seat next to him, so he himself doesn’t have to get up.

Soon after, the bully begins to elbow Shaan at the top of his back, stopping for a moment before fully wrapping an arm around his neck. Slowly, he begins to drag Shaan out of his chair by his neck, leaving him on the floor for a moment and then continuing to drag him. Through this, he continues cussing at Shaan while Shaan asks for him to stop. 

 Many sources giving opinions on this instance are based out of India, such as The India Times. Indian news officials and even some local government representatives have given their opinion on how they are horrified with the state of school-centered racism in the U.S.

In this country, many believe the bullying itself was racially motivated as was the administration that handled it. When Shaan, who is Indian, received 3 days of suspension while the student who assaulted him, who is White, received only 1 day of suspension, this strengthened the beliefs of those who believed racism was the root of the problems.  

Others think the student was not racially motivated, but the administration was, particularly because the father of the student who assaulted Shaan is involved on the school board. Others think racism played no role, although the bullying was itself wrong. Since Shaan’s friends filmed the video, and don’t try to help at all anywhere throughout it, it can be perceived that the video is just some friends fighting. Although this could be true, there are a lot of cases in which friends of a student victim are laughing and recording while their friend gets bullied, it’s all just a matter of the victim’s perspective. With barely any anecdotes from the members of the video or any account of previous altercations that the bully may have been in, it’s possible Shaan’s bully may have just antagonized him, and the physical altercation was a manifestation of that, rather than of racism.

Some social media comments say that it’s just two boys fighting. However, Shaan maintains a calmer attitude than his bully, since, in the video, he doesn’t try to fight back. With this, I believe Shaan’s bully may not have had racist intentions towards Shaan, but more that he’s an actually aggressive person. The North American Association of Indian Students tweets this video with the message, “the incident raises concerns about the safety and well-being of Indians in schools in the United States and the lack of proper support from school administration for situations like these.”

Many people are discussing the school administration’s policies on different social media platforms. For example, Tik Tok users have connected this incident to a recent surge in Asian American hate. Some videos are even captioned with how sadly ironic it is that this bullying occurred during AAPI ((Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander) month. . “I’ve seen a few posts about this video. I was mainly annoyed with the repercussions that Shaan and his classmate got. I really don’t understand why Shaan got a 3-day suspension,” says Nikita Gupta (10).

This video, just like many others of its kind, has sparked debate, mainly over social media. Since the issue is very local to the school district, the only thing people can hope for Shaan is that the bully in the video gets some form of fair repercussion that leads to greater understanding and empathy towards all students.