Parents are angry after red-haired children at an English school were subjected to "Kick a Ginger Kid Day" attacks believed to be inspired by the American cartoon South Park.
The children were assaulted on their way to classes at Wingfield Academy in Rotherham, the Irish Examiner reports.
Parents launched a Facebook page to vent their anger after many of the victims came home with heavy bruising.
“My son rang me and said kids were kicking him saying it was National Kick a Ginger Kid Day. He was scared so I went to get him out of school," said one mother, who did not want to be named.
“My son’s leg is swollen and there are bruises coming through," she said, of her 13-year-old son.
“It is both boys and girls who have been carrying out this bullying and I want action from the school to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“Apparently it has originated from an episode of the American show South Park and websites have sprung up about it.”
The father of a 13-year-old girl said his daughter came home with heavy bruising.
I think it’s disgusting,” he said. “It’s very upsetting for my daughter. If I went into school and kicked a kid then I would be arrested. She should be able to go to school without having to worry about being kicked in the corridor.
“When I spoke to the police they said they would treat it as an assault, but it is up to the school to involve them,” he said.
The school has promised that the bullies will be "strongly reprimanded."
Several websites have chosen Nov 20 at the "official" National Kick a Ginger Kid Day.