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High school football player accused of beating classmate because he is openly gay

A Southport (Indianapolis) High School mother says her son was beaten by a football player on the school bus because he is openly gay.

Sunshyne Reffett said the sophomore player punched her son in the face and choked him for 10 seconds on Aug. 15. She said the sophomore has taunted her son, a junior, for months because he is gay.

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“This child has been making fun of him for some time now, and it finally came to this,” said Reffett, 34, Indianapolis.

Reffett says the school district knows about the fight but failed to punish the boy. Instead, the district suspended both students from the bus for a week, discipline she called unfair for her son because it was a one-sided attack.

The Perry Township school district issued a statement saying it had investigated the fight.

“Intense verbal exchanges were made between two Southport High School students on a school bus which escalated into a physical altercation,” the statement says. “The district takes all physical exchanges seriously. A thorough investigation was conducted. Both students received a suspension from the bus.”

A spokeswoman for the school could not immediately say whether the district’s investigation found that the fight started because Reffett’s son was gay.

Reffett said her son “has been taunted in the hallway.”

“He knew once he came out that was going to happen, and he tries to have a sense of humor about it,” she said.

But it never ended in a physical altercation before, she said.

“He had a busted lip and a black eye, but what really scared me was the strangulation,” she said.

Reffet filled out a police report the day it happened and said she is meeting with a detective from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department on Saturday.

Reffett’s son told police the assailant hurled gay slurs at him, the police report said.

Joh Tuohy writes for the Indianapolis Star, a Gannett affiliate.



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