There's a lot of lip-service being paid to 'zero tolerance'... I haven't seen any actions.
"Zero tolerance" policies only serve to extend bullying. Practically speaking, there is intrinsically a huge amount of leeway granted to teachers and administrators to who is subjected to 'zero tolerance' policies under which circumstances. A black kid is suspended for waving to the camera in a photo. A girl is strip searched and suspended for allegedly sharing over-the-counter medication. A girl takes a razor from another student threatening self-harm and throws it directly in the trash and she gets suspended (and recommended for expulsion) for having a weapon when she reports the incident to the teachers. I guaran-fucking-tee you that if that girl had been rich and white and popular the school would have never tried to punish her. People are punished because they are disliked, punished because they are weak, and then ultimately punished for being punished.
I could list these stories all day long. Zero tolerance is just an excuse for administrators to come up with ridiculous bullshit charges against vulnerable students and then claim that their "hands are tied" to deflect public backlash. The reason the teachers and principle lost their shit during recording incident is because it exposed their complicity with bullying.
I hope this kid learned his lesson. Next time, don't go the teachers, don't go to your parents, go to YouTube. Make that shit go viral. And when they inevitably try to punish you just lie. You don't know who recorded the incident, you don't know where the video came from, you don't know who uploaded it, it probably the kids who have been relentlessly bullying you uploaded it so they could mock you online but you don't know. Stick to your guns no matter what.
I'm sorry kid. I wish I could recommend a course of action that didn't require you to lie. I wish I knew a morally pristine way to protect yourself, but the fact is that there isn't one. That's just the nature of the world you live in.