A student caught on video throwing cotton balls at a Black student and then whipping him with his belt has been arrested in Houma, Louisiana.
According to the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's office, a 15-year-old freshman at Vandebilt Catholic High School was arrested on March 15 for simple battery and hate crime. The student was booked into the Terrebonne Parish Juvenile Justice Center, according to police.
Video Sparks Outrage on Social Media
The alleged hate crime was captured on camera on March 9 inside the Vandebilt Catholic High School cafeteria, which showed the white student approaching the Black student from behind as he was seated on a table.
The white student then throws a handful of cotton balls at him before mockingly whipping him with a belt in his hand. The vile act prompts the Black student to stand up and push the white student out of the cafeteria hall.
The video sparked outrage on social media after it was shared by civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump. Crump captioned the video, "A Vandebilt Catholic High student in Lousiana was caught on video throwing cotton & whipping a Black student with a belt! Absolutely disturbing! This incident is NO laughing matter and should never have happened! This student needs to be held accountable for his racist bullying!"
Student Arrested After TPSO Received a Complaint About the 'Racially Motivated' Video
The student was arrested after the sheriff's office received a complaint on Thursday, March 10.
"The video that appears to be racially motivated was allegedly recorded at a local high school during school hours," the Sheriff's Office said. "TPSO detectives met with the parents of the victim and an investigation is being conducted. The parents of the victim also met with the school's administration and they are diligently assisting the parents with addressing this non-acceptable episode."
According to eyewitnesses, the victim was one of few Black students at the school. Both students identities have not been released as they are minors.
'No Tolerance for Racist or Bullying Behavior'
The archdiocese issued a statement on March 10, saying there is no tolerance for racist or bullying behavior. Writing, quote, "[Wednesday's] actions by a few are not consistent with the values and mission of our school."
The parents of the child who was targeted also included a statement in that press release, thanking people for their support and writing, "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."
Vandebilt officials said earlier that they were investigating the incident. "School officials are working in cooperation with diocesan officials, students and parents to investigate this matter and are committed to ensuring that all individuals involved are held accountable in accordance with school policies," the school said. Vandebilt Catholic President Jeremy Gueldner said the school does not tolerate bullying or racism.