A video has been posted by several people across social media showing a 14-year-old Ohio boy being attacked on Thursday afternoon on the bleachers of Defiance Middle School.
The reason? He was wearing the rainbow flag across his shoulders.
The boy has been identified has Tristen Torrez. He spoke with WTOL 11 and explained that he was wearing the flag as a show of pride as students were celebrating the last day of classes in this northwestern corner of Ohio.
“I was wearing it to state a message, and state just because one person is who they are, proud of who they are, doesn’t mean others shouldn’t be proud of who they are,” explained Torrez. “This was my official way of saying I was gay and not trying to hide it.”
Torrez was grabbed from behind and thrown down against the bleachers by someone he said he does not know well. His mother stated that this is not the first instance of bullying her son has experienced at the school.
“I wake up to my son coming home and telling me he was roughened up today,” said Brianne Torrez, Tristen’s mother. “He’s so used to the bullying it was kind of nothing to him, but to me, it was heartbreaking.”
The Buckeye Flame’s reached out to the Defiance School District for comment and Superintendent Robert Morton provided the following statement that had been sent to parents, guardians, students, and the community:
Some of you are aware of an incident that took place at a middle school event yesterday. This incident has received social media attention. We wish to let everyone know this incident was dealt with swiftly by the middle school administration and local law enforcement. Due to student privacy laws we are unable to share any other information. Please know, this type of behavior is not and will not be tolerated at Defiance City Schools.