A white high-schooler has been charged with a hate crime after being caught on video throwing cotton balls at a Black student and whipping him with his belt.
A disturbing video of a March 9 cafeteria confrontation — shared widely on social media over the weekend — has led to a hate crime charge in Louisiana for a 15-year-old boy.
PEOPLE confirms that the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office also charged the teen with simple battery.
The teen was arrested on Tuesday, according to records. However, the freshman’s name has been withheld in light of his age.
The incident unfolded inside a packed lunchroom at Vandebilt Catholic High School in Houma.
The White suspect is seen walking up behind a Black student. He then throws a handful of cotton balls on him before repeatedly hitting the Black student over the head with a belt.
The Black student being bullied then stands up, grabs the White student, and pushes him backwards through a nearby door.
WWL-TV reports that the Black student is one of only a few who attend the private school.
The student who was charged was booked into the Terrebonne Parish Juvenile Justice Center.
“I’m very pleased that the school took a front stand on this,” said Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Tim Soignet in a news release. “When we received the complaint, we immediately put our detectives on it. They worked through the weekend so we could get to this point. My officers did a good job handling it and working with the school to get this case to where it is now.”
In a statement to the station, the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux emphasized that the “actions by a few are not consistent with the values and mission of our school.”
Meanwhile, WWL-TV also received a statement from the parents of the victim.
“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.