Teen ‘questioning his sexuality' beat up by students, mother says

Beating recorded on video, shared on social media

By Erik von Ancken - Anchor/Reporter

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The mother of a Westridge Middle School eighth-grader said her son was attacked and beaten last Thursday just blocks from his middle school.

Cellphone video showed the boy on Oak Ridge Road laying over a wooden fence as at least six teenagers punched him repeatedly.

His mother shared pictures with News 6 that she said show her son in the hospital with bloody bruises to his head, arm and ear. She said he is bruised so badly he cannot sleep.

She said the videos show several angles of the beating and were being shared by students at Westridge Middle School.

A spokesperson for the Orange County School District said the district is looking at the videos, which are part of the investigation.

"We are aware of an altercation that occurred off campus involving several of our students," Orange County Public Schools Media Relations Specialist Lorena Hitchcock said. "We’re also aware of the video and a full investigation is underway."

The school district confirmed the other teens in the video are students.

The boy's mother asked News 6 not to identify her or her son to protect him because she believes he was already targeted once.

She said her 16-year-old son is currently questioning his sexual orientation.

Speaking in Spanish, she said she is not sure if her son was attacked because of his sexuality or if the attack was a robbery. His headphones and baseball cap were stolen.

One of the cellphone video clips starts with the young men walking down the sidewalk several seconds before the beating began. The victim's mother said the video proves the attackers were looking for their target and knew what they were about to do.

His mother said the school knows who the attackers are, but the district would not confirm that to News 6.

"This is still an open investigation," Hitchcock said. "No further details are available at this time."

An Orange County Sheriff's Office spokesperson said the Sheriff's Office is involved and waiting on details of the incident report taken at the scene.

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