A 17-year-old student continues to recover following a brutal beating by a classmate. The reason for the attack: The bully saw his victim carrying the pride flag.
The incident happened at Southwestern High School in the southern community of Piasa, Illinois. School administrators had promoted a “red, white, and blue,” day encouraging students to bring their favorite flags to school. The Jacksonville Journal-Courier reports that when a classmate noticed the student’s pride flag, he asked him to throw it away. When the student refused, his classmate attacked him, punching him in the head.
At the time of this writing, the extent of the victim’s injuries remains unclear.
Police later detained the assailant and charged him with excessive battery. He remains at a juvenile detention center and could face hate crime charges in the future.
Fellow students at Southwestern High, meanwhile, have sided with the bully.
“You wear a gay Pride flag to school and you don’t expect people to do anything? You go to Southern (sic) High, where we support the Confederate flag and you wonder why you get beat up?” one student posted to social media.
“It’s disrespectful to wear a pride flag on patriotic day, it’s not queer day,” another posted.
The victim’s brother also released screenshots of a terse conversation he had with a fellow student. When he asked what happened that got a student arrested, the “friend” showed little sympathy.
“Some gay kid brought a gay pride flag in and some kid beat the [expletive] out of him,” the classmate said, punctuating his statement with laughing emojis.
When the victim’s brother objected, the classmate showed no sympathy.
“Well don’t send him in a country ass school wearin’ some gay (expletive) if you don’t want his ass beat.”
2021 has seen a number of attacks on LGBTQ students and the pride flag in high schools across the United States. In Florida, a group of students carrying makeshift Confederate flags attacked a group of students promoting the school’s queer-straight alliance. In May, a 14-year-old student endured an attack from classmates for carrying the pride flag to school. In April, video of students defacing the pride flag at a Colorado high school went viral.