A B.C. student will reluctantly head back to school today after his classmates kicked him dozens of times last week during a daylong prank called "National Kick a Ginger Day."

The event, which has become an international phenomenon as word spread on the social networking site Facebook, asked kids across the country to kick schoolmates with red hair. The idea spread quickly from the virtual community into classrooms not just here in Canada but also into schools as far away as the U.K.

School officials in Alberta and B.C. have suspended dozens of students who participated by kicking fellow students. The prank has even prompted the Comox Valley RCMP in B.C. to investigate the teenage administrator of a Facebook group that allegedly encouraged the attacks.

Aaron Mishkin, a 13-year-old high school victim of the prank from Nanaimo, B.C., said he didn't know last Thursday was "kick a ginger day," but he quickly found out.

"There were quite a few people kicking (me)," he said, noting he couldn't believe some of his classmates actually thought the violence was funny.

"I tried to explain to them that this wasn't right thing to do, that it couldn't be a joke because it involved violence. But they didn't listen to me," he said.

Mishkin said he was so devastated by what happened on Thursday he decided not to go to school on Friday.

"My opinion of the people (who participated in the kicking) changed. I didn't think they were capable of that before, but after Thursday I just viewed them in a different light. I didn't want to go back and see them again that day," he said.

Mishkin said punishing kids who participated in the violence may not be the best solution, but he said some of the kids should get counselling.

"Because really, it's like a hate crime directed against a group of people," he said.

"I like my red hair. I never thought it would be a cause for violence."