A white high school student in Houma, La., has been charged with a hate crime after being caught on video whipping a Black student with his belt and throwing cotton balls at him.
According to the Associated Press, a 15-year-old Vanderbilt Catholic High School freshman was arrested on battery and hate crime charges after authorities reviewed a recording showing his actions against the Black student in the school’s cafeteria on March 9.
The video shows the unnamed white student coming up behind an unnamed Black student as he sat in the crowded lunchroom. The Black student is one of the few attending the high school. The white student throws a handful of cotton balls and repeatedly whipped the victim with his belt until the Black student stands up and pushes the other student away.
Vandebilt Catholic President Jeremy Gueldner said the school doesn’t tolerate bullying or racism. These “actions by a few are not consistent with the values and mission of our school,” the archdiocese said in a statement, according to the AP.
The parents of the child victim thanked everyone who has supported them since the incident took place.
“We will continue to pray for our school community as a whole, that we not only get through this together but that we each learn a valuable lesson from what has taken place,” the parents said in the archdiocese’s statement.
Terrebonne Parish NAACP President Jerome Boykin praised by local police and school officials for their swift response.
“The young man is only 15 years of age and I hope that he can learn from his mistake,” Boykin added.