A teenager at a Central Indiana High School is citing homophobic abuse from a high school football player as the motivation behind a brutal on-bus beating in which he was both strangled and punched multiple times.
As reported by the Indianapolis Star and a variety of other Indiana news outlets, including Indiana Fox affiliate WXIN, an unnamed teenager at Indianapolis (Ind.) Southport High was attacked while riding home on a school bus by a fellow classmate who is allegedly a member of the school's football team. The attacked teen claims that the physical confrontation was the direct result of ugly anti-gay bullying by the other teen.
The mother of the teen in question, Sunshyne Reffert, asked the Perry Township School District to review the on-bus video footage of the incident, only to be told that the video camera was not operational when the attack occurred. Suspiciously, it was reportedly back up and operational just days later, when Reffert asked to review the footage from the incident.
Meanwhile, both her son and his primary alleged attacker were suspended by the district for a "intense verbal exchanges [that] escalated into a physical altercation."
The teen who was attacked, who is openly gay, claims that's hardly how the incident unfolded, as he told WXIN.
"[They were] calling me a 'f**'," W.R. said.
"Whenever we neared my stop, they were talking about how they wanted to get off the bus and ‘beat my a**,’" W.R. said.
"I tried to push him out of the way, just to be able to get off the bus," W.R. said. "And if he was going to try and harm me, just to run home."
"He grabbed me by the backpack, pulled me into a chokehold, put me into one of the seats," W.R. said. "He punched me three times, and then put me into a chokehold and strangled me for a good 10 seconds."
"[The driver] saw me pushing him aside. I feel like he misconstrued that as me trying to start something rather than me just trying to get away," W.R. said.
Unsurprisingly, Sunshyne Reffert insists that she will continue fighting for her son's rights until the "deplorable" incident is adequately dealt with.
"My son is now fearful, not only for being beat, but he’s fearful for his life," Reffett told WXIN. "I don’t want to see another child—not just mine—another child hurt. This needs to stop."