Criminal charges have reportedly been filed after a Georgia high school student was caught on camera attacking a classmate over an LGBTQ pride flag.
Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk said Friday that a juvenile suspect at Lowndes High School had been charged with disorderly conduct, simple battery and disruption of a public facility, according to The Valdosta Daily Times. The charges came only one day after the video was first circulated on social media.
In the video, which appears to have been recorded in the high school’s cafeteria, a student wearing a black t-shirt can be seen running up to a table where a student in a rainbow wig sits draped in the pride flag. The attacker violently rips the flag off the seated student, forcing them to fall to the ground.
Another student, who was sitting near the victim, is then seen attempting to physically intervene as the attacker runs to a nearby trash can and forcefully throws the flag inside. The video ends while the attacker is pushing the intervening student.
The names of the students involved have not been released by authorities. However, social media posts allege that the apparent assault took place over a $5 bet and name the student who purportedly carried out the attack, according to LGBTQ Nation. An online petition to remove the alleged attacker from the school’s sports teams had over 5,000 signatures as of Friday evening.
“We are aware of a social media video involving two students and a Pride flag,” Lowndes High School Assistant Principal Rodney Green told The Valdosta Daily Times. “We take the well-being and safety of our students seriously. Our staff works hard to provide a safe environment where all of our students feel valued.”
“As soon as the Lowndes High School administration was aware, the matter was investigated, they ensured that the victim was not hurt and addressed the other student following the appropriate consequence outlined in the Student Code of Conduct,” added Green.
Several other violent incidents involving pride flags at public schools have been reported recently. In Florida in late May, another video showed a 12-year-old gender non-binary student with their draped a flag across their back like cape being attacked by a male classmate. The incident was also said to involve the assailant throwing the flag in a trash can. An additional video posted online around the same time showed a similar incident unfolding at an Ohio middle school.
Newsweek reached out to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office for comment.