• The 15-year-old walked up to the Black classmate in a crowded lunchroom
  • A video shows the boy hurling cotton balls and using a belt to whip the classmate
  • The teenager was arrested on battery and hate crime charges

A 15-year-old high school freshman in Louisiana has been arrested and charged with a hate crime for an encounter with a Black classmate.

The white high schooler was caught on video throwing cotton balls at the Black student and using a belt to whip him in the school cafeteria, authorities said Wednesday.

The teenager studying at Vandebilt Catholic High School in Houma was arrested Tuesday after authorities reviewed the video of the March 9 incident, AP News reported.

The clip, which has been posted on social media, shows the white teenager walking up behind the Black student in a crowded lunchroom and throwing a handful of cotton balls at him. The student then used a belt to whip the classmate.

The victim, who is reportedly one of the few Black students in the school, stood up and pushed the teenager back.

Vandebilt Catholic High School President Jeremy Gueldner acknowledged the incident and said the institution does not tolerate racism or bullying. The archdiocese statement said these "actions by a few are not consistent with the values and mission of our school."

Robert and Brandi Sandolph, parents of the victim, released a statement last week following the incident, according to Houma Today.

"We, the parents of the student that was the victim of yesterday's incident, appreciate the outpouring of support and prayers from our Vandebilt community," their statement read, as per the outlet. "We are pleased that the administrators are working with us during the investigation of this incident. We will continue to pray for our school community as a whole, that we not only get through this together, but that we each learn a valuable lesson from what has taken place. WE ARE VANDEBILT!"

The freshman student was arrested on battery and hate crime charges.

"The young man is only 15 years of age and I hope that he can learn from his mistake," Terrebonne Parish NAACP President Jerome Boykin, who also appreciated the school and sheriff's office for their response to the incident, said, according to ABC News.

Meanwhile, Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Tim Soignet said in a news release that he's "very pleased that the school took a front stand on this."

"When we received the complaint, we immediately put our detectives on it. They worked through the weekend so we could get to this point," AP News quoted him as saying. "My officers did a good job handling it and working with the school to get this case to where it is now."

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