Trigger warning: This post contains details and video of a disturbing physical and verbal assault on a defenseless child.
Video of a 13-year-old trans teen girl in Florida who suffered a brutal beating in the hallway of her middle school by homophobic bullies has resulted in an outpouring of support for the victim. Chad Sanford told NBC Miami she was just trying to catch the bus home after classes at Deerfield Beach Middle School last Friday, May 21, when she was viciously attacked by her fellow students who can be seen kicking, spitting, and taunting her throughout the ordeal. Sanford was eventually able to escape the beating when a student intervened to help her to the office.
“He called me a gay faggot,” Sanford explained. “He said he was going to knock the gayness out of me.”
Sanford said she has been bullied often at school, and the disturbing video backs up her claims. In the short clip, she can be seen wearing a hoodie and walking through the hallway with fellow students mocking her relentlessly. An unidentified boy can then be seen grabbing Sanford from behind and hurling her to the floor. She curls into a fetal position as students quickly form a circle and start kicking the defenseless girl.
“He was following me in when I was walking to the door to go home and get on the bus,” Sanford said of the bully who instigated the incident. “He actually held me up and pushed me on the floor. They were kicking, shoving, and spitting on me.”
The Broward County School District issued a statement saying the district was “taking this incident seriously” and that “any students involved will face appropriate school disciplinary consequences in accordance with the codebook for student conduct.” The district also said they were cooperating with the Broward Sheriff’s Office, who are investigating the incident.
“When I hear about this, it takes me back to my own issues that I experienced when I was younger," said Tatiana Williams of the advocacy organization Trans Inclusive Group, adding she thought the incident showed how “it’s important to respect people the way” they way they want to be respected and that it “just goes back to human courtesy and human dignity.
For her part, Sanford just wants people to accept who she is and stop the bullying.
“Like just leave me alone,” Sanford said. “I don’t want to be bothered.”