PAYETTE —The Payette Police Department is investigating the assault of six sixth-graders that occurred at McCain Middle School last week.

Payette Police Chief Mark Clark said the alleged attacks were reported to the Payette Police Department April 17 when middle school officials called the police department, stating they had received several reports of assaults that have taken place against sixth-grade students.

Clark said police responded to the calls and have conducted an investigation.

While completing the investigation, Clark said it was determined that eight seventh- and eighth-grade students had formed a gang and committed several assaults in the school bathrooms on sixth-grade students.

Clark said the students pushed and hit the younger students. Minor bruising and minor injuries were reported.

“We are taking the issue seriously,” Clark said. “We do not want students to be in fear of being bullied while attending school. We are very concerned and taking it very seriously.”

The parents of victims and the newly formed gang were notified.

Parents of four of the victims have decided to pursue battery charges against eight suspects, Clark said.

McCain Middle Schools has also temporarily suspended the eight students, Clark said.

“I believe they are back in school, but I am being told the situation is being looked at by the School Board,” Clark said. “They are facing possible expulsion.”

The eight students will head to court to face the battery and assault charges.

Clark said none of the students had a criminal history and none have shown the typical behavior of gang members until forming the gang.

“They are good students who made bad choices,” Clark said. “They will need to be held accountable for their actions.”

Payette Police currently has a school resource officer at the middle school, and the officer was involved in the investigation.

“The appropriate measures have been taken by police and by the school,” Clark said.

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