A viral video taken in Lowndes High School’s Cafeteria in Valdosta, GA, shows a high school student ripping a Pride flag off the shoulders of another student and knocking them to the floor as onlookers laugh.
In the clip, a student who has not been identified because he is a minor runs across the room and suddenly grabs the flag. When it doesn’t immediately come loose, the student wearing it falls backwards to the ground. One of their friends, in a yellow shirt, gets up to fight off the attacker. They move across the cafeteria, and the attacker throws the flag in a trash can before knocking it over.
“I feel like me and my friends are unsafe,” a student told WALB News 10, “Because the majority of us are part of the LGBT community and you would think going to school would be a safe place, but there’s people with so much hatred that will hate you and do anything they can to just get at you because you’re different and want to express yourself.. and it’s really hard.”
Rodney Green, the school’s assistant principal, said in a statement that they’re aware of the video and are taking action over it.
“We are aware of a social media video involving two students and a Pride flag,” said Rodney Green, Lowndes High School assistant principal. “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.”
It should be noted that Lowndes is the same school where student Kendrick Johnson was found dead and rolled up in a gym school mat. An independent investigation by his family concluded he died from blunt force trauma, though the school maintained it was an accident.
Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk announced that “a juvenile” has been charged with disorderly conduct, simple battery, and disruption of a public facility in regards to the incident, so reports of the attack have gone beyond the school’s administration and their way of handling student relations.