Gay Eighth-Grader Pummeled in High-School Locker Room in Alleged Hate Crime: 'I'm Still Numb'

An eighth grader in Indiana says he was violently beaten by a classmate because he's gay.

"I was in the locker room after third period gym," the victim, a student at Alexandria-Monroe High School, told WISH Channel 8. "And the guy who attacked me was standing at my locker, being creepy. He asked, 'What are you doing?' I was like, 'I'm changing.'"

The eighth grader, who requested anonymity identified his attacker as a 10th-grader. He said the two had gym together but were not friends and rarely interacted.

attack school gay hate crime
Classmates videoed the assault, violating the school's ban on phones, and texted it to others. Getty Images

"[He] started shoving me with his shoulder," the victim told WISH. "He hit me two times in the head and then hit my face against the mirror. And then [he hit me] a couple more times to my face—and then someone pulled him off."

He believes the older student attacked him "because of my sexuality."

Two students recorded footage of the assault, authorities confirmed. The fact that they had their phones at the ready, says the victim, suggests it was a planned attacked.

On Friday Alexandria police confirmed they were investigating the incident but "[had] not uncovered any evidence" the victim's sexual orientation played a part, according to the network. "They're trying to say it's not a hate crime," the victim's mother told WISH. "Well, what else do you call it?"

She was on school grounds for a parent-teacher conference when the attack happened, was sent a clip of the assault by a friend.

"I thought I was going to throw up," she said. "In the video, you see my son is backed up against the wall, kind of like a corner of the concrete wall by the mirror. This kid's in front of him and there are kids on either side, blocking his escape. [The 10th-grader] just squats down and starts wailing on his face and head."

The video reportedly shows the student punching her son four times. "It all happened so fast," said the eighth-grader. "The whole thing lasted under a minute."

He reportedly suffered a broken nose, bruised eye and scratches behind his ear. "I don't really feel anything yet," he said. "I'm kind of numb."

In a statement Alexandria Community Schools superintendent Melissa Brisco said the district "was deeply troubled by Tuesday's assault."

"We want to assure our families and community that we will continue to work hard to provide a safe, caring and supportive learning environment for all our students," she added. As of Friday night, no charges had been filed.

A hate-crimes law signed in April by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb allows judges to impose harsher sentences for criminals who victimize others based on race, religion and sexual orientation, among other traits.

Only 19 states and the District of Columbia have anti-bullying laws that protect LGBT students from harassment and violence by students, teachers and staff. According to a 2018 report from HRC, 73 percent of LGBT students report being bullied because of their identity—nearly a third say they were threatened with physical violence.

Only 26 percent of LGBT youth report that they always feel safe at school.

The incident at Alexandria-Monroe High School comes weeks after an Indiana teacher filed a lawsuit after being told to refer to transgender students by their accurate name and pronouns.

Citing his religious beliefs, Brownsburg High School teacher John Kluge resigned rather than follow school policy. In June, he filed a lawsuit against the Brownsburg Community School Corporation, requesting reinstatement and an injunction against the policy from being enforced.