CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) A video showing a 14-year old sucker punching a 13-year old did more than create a fire storm of emotions from parents, it also highlighted a growing trend among young white children that many parents were shocked to find out.
Soon after WDEF received a copy of that video which went viral, An investigation into the kid who delivered the punch was well underway.
A look at his public Facebook page revealed curse words and language many parents would not like to hear come out of a child's mouth. That includes the repeated use of the "N" word.
As the investigation continued, friends of this individual who left messages on his page also used the "N" word. Before, long, WDEF uncovered several different Facebook pages of children who referred to themselves as the "N" word and even appeared to embrace it as a term of endearment towards others.
Hours after the 14-year old was charged with aggravated assault, WDEF interviewed him at his home with both of his legal guardians present. He was asked why so many white kids his age are embracing that word.
"I thought since everybody else is saying it would be ok for me to say it. So now it's just a habit," he said.
His legal guardian says she was shocked to find out he often says the "N" word and blames lyrics in rap music for influencing young children.
"I think it's just this generation with the rappers and I think it's just becoming a part of young peoples language. Unfortunately I don't like. I don't approve of it," she said.
WDEF started looking into more of his Facebook post and found the "N" word was used by his own mother who is not his legal guardian.
A mother of a 4th grader said her son hears the word all the time. WDEF was given permission to interview him. He was asked how often he hears the "N" word from fellow classmates.
"Mostly everyday on the bus," he said.
That same 4th grader said he's old enough to understand why the N-word is offensive and that he doesn't like it.
"It make me feel made if they say it to me but if they say it other people I still get mad because they shouldn't be saying it," he said.
WDEF spoke to a former school resource officer who is now a Chattanooga detective investigating juvenile crimes. He said during many of his investigations, he found kids of all color, race, gender and age use the "N" word as part of their everyday vocabulary.
"They're just using it. And its just rampant in this generation," said detective Reginald Park.
Many older kids argue that their use of the word is part of free speech. They have found their own unity and identity in a word originally used to degrade and divide.