Florida: Non-binary student, 12, attacked for bringing LGBT flag to picnic

Leo’s sister shared a clip of the incident on Twitter and urged people to call the school

A non-binary student, 12, was attacked at a school picnic just for displaying an LGBT+ rainbow flag.

Leo Hoffman was dragged along the ground and had water thrown on their head as they tried to wrestle back control of the flag which had been snatched by fellow students.

Florida police are investigating the incident and the school has suspended multiple people who were involved.

Leo and their friends had been enjoying the picnic at Seminole Middle School in Plantation on May 28 when they decided to display the flag.

A male student grabbed it and threw it in a trash can, Leo’s father Benjamin Hoffman told Bay News Nine.

Leo took it back and decided to wear it as a cape before it was snatched by the same student again, resulting in Leo being thrown to the ground.

Their sister, Ashleigh, posted a clip of the incident on Twitter with the caption: ‘This is a video of my little sibling Leo who is non-binary being drug to the ground, stomped on, and covered in water just for wearing a pride flag at school.’

The clip shows several students trying to intervene while some giggle and laugh at the unfolding scenes.

This is a video of my little sibling Leo who is non-binary being drug to the ground, stomped on, and covered in water just for wearing a pride flag at school. Please call Seminole Middle and request #justiceforleo at 727-547-4520 pic.twitter.com/VwNRidkeuj

— Ashleigh 🏳️‍🌈 (@Mermaid_Lover_) June 1, 2021

Mr Hoffman told Bay News: ‘Leo was frightened. Not so much for themselves but for their friends. Leo is very strong and would do anything to protect their friends.’

Ashleigh later tweeted again to thank ‘everyone who had called’ the school to complain about the video. She added that the school’s principal had ‘just let us know that the five main boys involved have been suspended and that they are pursuing a full investigation.’

Hoffman said didn’t want ‘to see someone’s kid expelled from school’ but he said: ‘you can’t lay your hands on another person’, adding: ‘It’s just not acceptable.’

The school is set to introduce an anti-bullying programme when the students return later in the year.

Pinellas County Schools Public Information Officer Isabel Mascareñas told WTSP: ‘The students’ behavior was inappropriate and unacceptable, and they were quickly disciplined. Pinellas County Schools does not tolerate this behavior.

‘Pinellas County Schools welcomes everyone, and we teach students to accept and respect others for who they are.’ she added. ‘The district values diversity and promotes inclusion.’

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