CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — A student at Unioto High School has been charged with felony assault in the beating of gay teen whose mother said he was targeted because of his sexual orientation.
According to Rebecca Collins, Zachary’s mother, the student who attacked her son was given a three-day suspension for the fight. But it wasn’t until the video showed up on Facebook several days later that prompted her to urge school and police to investigate the attack further.
Union-Scioto schools Superintendent Dwight Garrett said his district has a zero-tolerance approach toward any form of harassment, including cyber-bullying. He said the district’s policy complies with state anti-bullying law.
“We had a bad situation happen. We’re doing the best we can. We want all children to be protected. There’s a problem nationwide with things like this,” he said.
Collins, told investigators that she considers the attack “a hate crime” because her son is gay.
“When you’ve been tortured for two years, by people in your school, then there’s no doubt in my mind,” she told The Columbus Dispatch.
Sever is expected to appear in juvenile court to answer to the charge filed by the office of Prosecutor Matthew Schmidt following an investigation by the sheriff’s office.