East Bay News

Hercules transgender student verbally harassed before fight

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A disturbing scene at a Bay Area high school was caught on cellphone video, showing a transgender student in the middle of a fight with several other students.

It happened at Hercules High School, where administrators are hoping that talking about it will lead to heightened awareness and greater tolerance on campus.

It may appear to be mutual combat in that video, but school officials say that fight was a direct result of bullying. Police and school officials are investigating it as a possible hate crime.

According to school officials, this fight came after some female students verbally harassed a transgender student about her gender identity.

It happened Wednesday in a courtyard at Hercules High School, between sixth and seventh periods.

"At one point, just about every member that was involved in the fight ends up on the ground," Assistant Principal Ken Hickok said. "There was lots of hair pulling, hitting, slapping."

No one was seriously hurt.

School officials say the transgender student initiated the physical contact, but only after she was verbally assaulted.

"After being under stressful situations day after day of being teased and talked about, obviously at some point you're going to explode," said Charles Ramsey with the West Contra Costa School Board.

The transgender student complained to school administrators about being bullied just two days ago and a warning was given to the other students involved.

"They were told knock it off and then something transpired yesterday afternoon," said Adam Taylor with the West Contra Costa School District.

Those who counsel students at the Hercules school hope to turn this incident into something positive.

"They're teenagers," health services coordinator Rachel Delgado said. "Their frontal lobe is not completely developed. And I think that's where we come into play; to talk to them about tolerance and supporting and supporting each other."

In the meantime, all four students involved face possible disciplinary action for fighting on campus.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
hercules, lgbt, violence, hate crime, caught on tape, cellphone, east bay news, laura anthony
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