ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) – The Loganville Police Department has confirmed that four teenagers have been charged after allegedly forcing a 15-year-old male 9th grader into a bathroom closet for an extended period of time while being sprayed or sprayed with product cleaning liquid.
Police said they were investigating two incidents. The first took place on March 23 and the second on March 31.
In addition, the students are accused of having subjected the victim to harassing comments of a homophobic nature.
The four students face the following charges:
Suspect #1 (age 17): one count of forcible confinement (felony);
Suspect #2 (16 years old): two counts of forcible confinement (felony); a single battery commander (misdemeanor); and one count of reckless driving (misdemeanor);
Suspect #3 (14 years old): one count of forcible confinement and one count of reckless driving – participation in a crime (both offences);
Suspect #4 (14 years old); Two counts of wrongful imprisonment – participation in a crime and one count of reckless driving – participation in a crime (both misdemeanors).
The 17-year-old, who has been identified as Kelsey Juliana Hayes, is being charged as an adult. Because of this, his photo ID was released. The other teenagers are not identified at this time.
Loganville High School also released the following statement:
Principals at Loganville High School have been made aware of a student incident that occurred prior to spring break during an extracurricular after-school activity. Student safety is a top priority, and school officials are investigating the incident and working with law enforcement officials to ensure the district code of conduct and legal action is properly enforced.
The Loganville Police Department released the following statement:
The Loganville Police Department and especially our School Resource Officers take cases and allegations of this nature very seriously. We do not condone bullying behavior in any shape, form or mode, for any reason, and I believe the charges in this case reflect that position.
As more parents learned of the arrests, more parents became concerned about the incident that took place inside the school. Many spoke out on social media and in parent groups on Thursday.
Jordan Fannin tells CBS46 he was bullied growing up at the same school, he says, because he’s gay.
“I was also the victim of hazing and bullying,” Fannin told CBS46. “It brings me back from post-traumatic stress because I have experienced similar situations. As a young child, I was so scared because all these people I try to talk to are so powerful. I just felt like I wouldn’t be heard and I feel like I have a bit more voice as an adult not associated with the school system.
Fannin and her friends are holding a rally outside Loganville High School on Tuesday afternoon to speak out against bullying.
“I would like to reach a wider audience that can raise awareness and eventually create change in the school district not just in Georgia but in other communities,” Fannin added.
Although police reports indicate that the harassing comments were homophobic in nature, CBS46 does not know if the student victim in this case identifies with the LGBTQ community and would not expose the victim’s personal information without consent.
CBS46 has reached out to Jeff Graham, the executive director of Georgia Equality, who is disturbed by the allegations of homophobic bullying.
“Knowing that the administration took action is important, but this student who was so viciously attacked needs to be protected,” Graham said.
Graham says the anti-LGBTQ political rhetoric has become more troubling in recent months.
“We don’t know the details of this student, but the allegations here in this police report are incredibly disturbing and that’s the role we adults play in trying to come to terms with this. It’s about making sure that the kind of discriminatory, stigmatizing and hateful rhetoric that has been in the news so much in recent months, we have to put an end to it,” Graham added.
The Loganville High School principal told CBS46 he would not issue a statement as the investigation is ongoing.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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