Karine Jean-Pierre
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WATCH: Teen Suspended for Defending Bullied Gay Classmate

WATCH: Teen Suspended for Defending Bullied Gay Classmate

A Florida high schooler was suspended for 10 days after a lunchroom fight in which he reportedly stepped in to defend a gay student from a bully. 

Mark Betterson, a senior at East Lee County High School in Lehigh Acres, Fla., told WFTX TV that he got involved in the fray after James Griffin, 18, threw milk in a gay student's face, called him a gay slur, and began beating him. 

The victim, 18-year-old Jonathan Colon, suffered bruises to the head, but Betterson believes his intervention prevented more serious injuries to Colon. According to the report, Griffin began attacking Betterson after he jumped in to defend Colon. 

"It’s not fair for somebody to get beat up for something that he is," Betterson told WFTX. "I’m not going to sit there and watch someone get bullied if I used to get bullied too."

East Lee County High School has a zero-tolerance policy on fighting, so Betterson was suspended for 10 days — a decision he plans to appeal at a hearing today. Colon reportedly organized a protest Friday in support of Betterson, arguing that the suspension should be reduced or revoked, since he was defending a bullied classmate. 

Griffin is facing battery charges, according to WFTX. Watch the station's report on the incident below. 


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