A white Louisiana high school student has been arrested after a video went viral of him committing a hate crime, WDSU reports. The teenager was seen imitating whooping a Black student with a belt and throwing cotton balls at him at Vanderbilt Catholic High School.
Tim Soignet, Terrebonne Parish Sheriff, charged the teen with a simple battery and hate crime. He was booked into the parish’s juvenile detention center. “I’m very pleased that the school took a front stand on this,” the sheriff said on Wednesday. “When we received the complaint, we immediately put our detectives on it. They worked through the weekend so we could get to this point and effect an arrest on that juvenile.”
The incident occurred at the school’s cafeteria and was recorded by another student. Bystanders can be heard chuckling at the teen’s mocking as the Black student was seated at a table with his peers. The Black student was seen composed, at first, then retaliated against his schoolmate by pushing him outside of the cafeteria door.
The 15-year-old student’s name has not been released. Jerome Boykin, the Terrebonne Parish’s NAACP President, credited school officials and local authorities for being prompt in their call to action.
“Vandebilt Catholic High School’s administration and the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office sent a strong message to the community that this type of crime will not be tolerated,” Boykin said in a statement. “The young man is only 15 years of age, and I hope that he can learn from his mistake.”
Soignet explained he wants to conduct a “thorough investigation” of the crime. “It’s not as simple as watching the video and making an arrest,” he said. “When you’re dealing with juveniles, it’s a different challenge all on its own. It’s not like dealing with adults.”
School officials “are working in cooperation with diocesan officials, students and parents to investigate” the matter. The victim’s parents, Robert and Brandi Sandolph, issued a joint statement thanking the community for their support.
“We are pleased that the administrators are working with us during the investigation of this incident,” the parents said last week, per Yahoo! news.