ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — Update, Sept. 20: Action News Jax is learning more about the punishment some local high school students could face after targeting students apart of the Gay Straight Alliance at Bartram Trail High School.
The St. Johns County School District said a youth resource deputy with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, is working with the school to investigate.
The school is still working to learn how many students were involved.
The school district told Action News Jax the actions in the video line up with level 3 and level 4 infractions in the student code of conduct.
That means punishment could include, but is not limited to: in-school suspension, placement in an alternative school, expulsion or referral to law enforcement.
The sheriff’s office said, at this time, there are no criminal charges.
The school district said via e-mail on Monday, “This behavior is not acceptable and is not indicative of the culture and students at BTHS. It is very disappointing that these students handled themselves in this way.”
Original Story from Sept. 19:
Bartram Trail High School is addressing a serious incident that took place Friday afternoon.
Videos given to Action News Jax show classmates screaming homophobic slurs at fellow students on campus and stomping on the ground after class.
A district spokesperson said there will be consequences, confirming it happened on campus and that students from Bartram Trail High School directed the verbal attacks at the Gay-Straight Alliance club and other classmates.
In one video, you can hear someone screaming, “There’s only two genders, f*****.”
“It was terrifying; it was absolutely terrifying,” a mother told Action News Jax.
Another video given to Action News Jax shows a student stomping on what we’ve been told is a Pride flag.
The mother, who didn’t want to be identified for her family’s safety, told Action News Jax her daughter goes to the school and was one of many targeted in the incident.
She said it took place after school on Friday, saying a group of students with make-shift Confederate flags screamed homophobic slurs. She added that a Pride flag was ripped out of her daughter’s hand.
“She’s approached by one of the boys, who started yelling at her saying, ‘You’re gay. You have no rights,’ and kind of spitting at her. She walked past it and got on her bus,” the mother said.
A St. Johns County School District spokesperson confirmed with Action News Jax this incident happened on campus.
“School officials are actively addressing the incident and students involved will receive consequences that align with our student code of conduct.”
The mother believes all students involved should be expelled.
“Enough is enough. It is time for that school board to take action at that school, and it needs some serious new leadership,” she said.
She called this incident “sad” and wants the district to take immediate action.
“I think if you show that level of hate or attacked at people just for people being who they are, there’s no tolerance for that,” she said.
The mother told Action News Jax it’s starting to feel dangerous at the school. She doesn’t feel safe with her daughter there, saying she sent the videos to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.
A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said the videos were sent over to the youth resource division. The spokesperson added if a follow-up is required, the division will work with the school to address the issue.
SJCSD code of conduct says students are to respect the right of others to express their views, however does not allow forms of bullying and harassment.
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