On Friday, numerous Kenwood High School students in Baltimore, Maryland physically attacked a fellow classmate for wearing a shirt with a Confederate flag on it, students say. A video of the apparent brawl, wherein multiple students are seen assaulting a classmate as a teacher unsuccessfully tries to break up the mayhem, has since made the rounds on social media.
School officials confirmed to WBFF Fox 45 that "there was a fight of some sort" in the classroom, though they declined to comment further.
According to witnesses in the school, the male student was brutally attacked while sitting in a ninth grade classroom solely for wearing the shirt.
"The people were just randomly seeing the guy and hearing about him wearing a shirt like that, and when they saw him, they decided to be rash about it," said Kenwood student Alex Wilkinson.
Wilkinson was in an adjacent classroom from where the fight initially broke out; it eventually poured into the hallway.
"I definitely saw just a bunch of people just screaming at him from really up close," he added.
"He was minding his business, honestly," said Tra'shaw Holmes, another student. "They had no right touching him."
Holmes' mother asked, "Why would his parents let him wear it — from the jump, knowing it was going to lead to something crazy? Knowing what's going on in this world?"
"I understand that it's a controversial item. As a historian, I'd like to keep it in our history, of course, naturally," said Nicole Wilkinson, mother of student Alex Wilkinson.
"You know, it was just inappropriate for him to be wearing it in school," she added.
Another parent from the Kenwood posted a photo on Facebook of the student who was attacked. "My 10th grader sent me this picture! I would like to know what happened to dress code and school rules??" she captioned the photo. "Why would someone be allowed to wear this to school and not be told to change it? Just horrible."
Community members commenting on the news story posted varying opinions with regard to the assault.
"The people on this thread that are saying the kid deserved it based on his clothing choice are no better than saying a girl in a short skirt is asking to be raped or a man with an expensive watch deserves to be robbed," wrote Amy Strawser. "There is absolutely no excuse for this level of violence on anyone, much less a child."
"No excuses to jump a kid in school for a shirt. Stop blaming the kid for wearing a shirt. Blame the kid who attacked the other for nothing, it's a shirt, it's cloth, no reason to attack," commented Jason Shaner.
"He got everything he was looking for," said Tasheira Carr.
"Here to see who says 'but, its only a shirt,'" wrote Kinnis Williams. "I don’t agree with jumping him but he shouldn’t have had on the shirt."
Shy Ward made the case for school uniforms. "So alot [sic] of caucasians blame this on the black students and black people feel the opposite way no party was right but this is a prime example of why schools need uniforms," she said.