PALM BAY, Fla. – A Central Florida 17-year-old faces battery charges after police allege he punched a classmate in the face who was holding a Donald Trump sign during gym class.
Palm Bay Police allege Bayside High School student Andre Hudson punched a classmate in the face who was holding a Trump sign Wednesday afternoon then flew into a rage, yelling obscenities at school and police officials and destroying school property, WKMG reports.
The attack started in the gym, but continued when Hudson was taken to the dean’s office.
A school resource officer said that when he arrived at the office he found a visibly agitated Hudson swearing at school officials, and attempted to calm him down. The teen wasn’t having it, and allegedly shoved his middle finger in the officer’s face, punched filing cabinets and swatted items off a desk, according to his arrest affidavit.
Hudson then allegedly stormed out of the office in pursuit of the student he attacked earlier.
“When I see that white boy again, I’m going to punch him in his face,” he said, according to police.
The student located his classmate and stared him down in a “menacing fashion” while the boy sat silently. Police allege Hudson shoved a school official when she attempted to intervene.
Hudson tensed up and resisted as the school resource officer grabbed him by his wrist to try to restrain him. Ultimately the officer had to grab Hudson in a bear hug to get him to the ground to handcuff him, the report said.
Once in the officer’s office, Hudson kicked and started to swear once again, authorities said. The officer pulled him from his chair and called in a second unit to help keep him restrained.
The school resource officer was allegedly injured while restraining Hudson, who was ultimately hauled off to juvenile detention. Hudson did not return to school on Thursday, and now faces charges of battery and felony battery on a school official, according to the news site.
The incident prompted strong opinions online.
“So why isn’t this a hate crime too?” Michael McMahon posted in the comments. “Calling him a white boy is racist.”
“’White boy’ is a racist slur? Since when?” Anne Stubbs responded.
“ … That’s a one way street dear!” Jennifer Sietz wrote. “It’s only a hate crime when it’s white on black.”
“People are responsible for their own actions. There are better ways to handle frustration and anger,” Sherry Loria posted. “If this child does this by just seeing a Trump sign, imagine the next thing that sets him off. Consequences must be faced so actions aren’t repeated.”
“1st Amendment protects speech, not assault,” Brendan Fitzgerald added.