Word to the wise: Never dress up as an opponent's mascot at a pep rally on the morning of a heated football game. That innocuous mistake cost Bakersfield (Calif.) High student body president Mitch Carter his general safety and facial integrity.
According to BakersfieldNow.com, Carter, a senior at the school, agreed to don a chicken suit for his school's pep rally on Friday before the school's matchup against Clovis West (Calif.) High in the Valley Conference championship game. The idea was for Carter to impersonate Clovis West's golden eagle mascot, but before the student body president even got to the midcourt circle for a skit with Bakersfield's mascot, he was attacked by a group of junior varsity football players who rushed out of the crowd to wrestle with the giant chicken.
"Some students got a little too excited about the appearance of a mascot for the other team, and one student tackled the mascot and then others piled on," John Teves, public information officer for the Kern High School District told the Bakersfield Californian.
Yet things did get pretty ugly, as you can see in the clip above. Though the initial students to attack Carter were clearly only playfighting, the additional students who jumped in to the fray took things a bit more clearly, kicking and stomping on the chicken suited-Carter until they could finally be pulled off not by faculty or security personnel, but by other students.
The school district cited confusion over the nature of the skit -- the entire attack lasted just 12 seconds -- for security personnel's delay in intervening in the conflict, which it said could have been avoided if the junior varsity football players had been told about Carter's role in the skit as their varsity teammates had.
After everything calmed down, Carter was taken to the hospital for stitches and to check for a potential concussion following the hits he took to the head. While medical privacy laws kept any treatment of Carter from being released, a photo of the senior on BakersfieldNow.com showed his face to be severely swollen with multiple abrasions. Meanwhile, one of Carter's classmates told the Californian on Monday that the senior intended to undergo more tests this week because he still felt unwell some three days after the pep rally skit went wrong.
Yet Carter still came out better than his classmates who attacked him, with 11 students involved in the altercation, as identified from the video, now serving a suspension for their role in the incident. The length of those suspensions has not been reported, again citing privacy rules.
All parties are now clearly trying to put the incident behind them, something which may prove hard for some of Carter's traumatized classmates.
"They all just jumped on him," Bakersfield sophomore Fidel Sanchez told the Californian.