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Nonbinary Florida 12-Year-Old Beaten for Displaying Pride Flag

Florida teen

In another attack on an LGBTQ+ middle schooler, a viral video reveals a group of students kicking and beating a 12-year-old nonbinary student and their friends for displaying a Pride flag at Seminole Middle School in Plantation, Fla., late last month. 

The student, Leo Hoffman, was having a picnic with friends at school when a male student grabbed the flag and threw it in the trash, Leo Hoffman’s father, Benjamin Hoffman, told Spectrum Bay News 9. When Leo retrieved the flag from the trash to wear like a cape, the student grabbed it back, knocking Leo to the ground. Students proceeded to kick and stomp on Leo.

Several students involved in the anti-LGBTQ+ beating were suspended, while some were expelled and others were reassigned to other schools. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the crime.

“We teach our students to accept and respect everyone for who they are,” she says. “This is a district that values diversity and promotes inclusion,” said Isabel Mascareñas, the public information officer for Pinellas County Schools.

She called the actions of the students involved “inappropriate and not acceptable.”

Equality Florida’s Director of Transgender Equality Gina Duncan told Spectrum News it’s imperative to call attention to these types of violence.

 “When we see discrimination and certainly when we see violence against our young people in schools, this is something that we have to address.”

The incident occurred in the days before Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis made several anti-LGBTQ+ moves, including vetoing all LGBTQ+ programs and projects from his state’s budget and signing a bill into law that prohibits trans women and girls from participating with other females in school sports

Tags: News, Florida

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