A transgender student in California said she was assaulted by other girls at the school in an attack captured on cell phone video.
The Hercules High School student said the girls had been verbally harassing her about her gender identity prior to the attack Wednesday afternoon in an outdoor courtyard.
School officials said the transgender student — a male who identifies as female — initiated the contact with two girls after she was verbally abused. A third girl then joined in the fight.
“At one point, just about every member that was involved in the fight ends up on the ground,” said Assistant Principal Ken Hickok. “There was lots of hair pulling, hitting, slapping.”
No one was seriously hurt, officials said.
The transgender student had complained Monday about the girls bullying her, officials said, and the involved students received a warning.
“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.
Hercules police and West Contra Costa School District officials are investigating the fight as a possible hate crime.
A counselor at the school said she hoped to use the incident to teach students about tolerance.
“They’re teenagers,” said health services coordinator Rachel Delgado. “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.”
All four students involved face possible disciplinary action, including suspension or expulsion, for the fight.
Watch this video report posted online by KGO-TV: