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Viral video shows beatdown of middle school girl; many claim attacker is a male who identifies as female. District won't discuss attacker's gender identity.
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Viral video shows beatdown of middle school girl; many claim attacker is a male who identifies as female. District won't discuss attacker's gender identity.

A viral cellphone video shows an Oregon middle school girl getting beaten up by an attacker who many claim is a male who identifies as female. While the suspect has been arrested, the district isn't commenting on the student's gender identity.

What are the details?

The video in question was recorded last week in a hallway at Hazelbrook Middle School in Tualatin, a suburb of Portland.

The attacker grabs a girl from behind and yanks her backward so hard that she quickly falls to the hallway floor. The attacker then grabs the victim's hair with both hands and pulls and pushes her head from side to side. Finally, the attacker stands above the cowering victim and repeatedly pounds her shoulder before cursing at her and delivering a parting blow to the victim's head.

No one intervenes.

The 24-second video ends with the tearful victim slowly getting up and saying she can't breathe.

What happened next?

OregonLive reported that officials in the Tigard-Tualatin School District said the attack is under criminal investigation. The attacker was arrested and is facing assault charges, the outlet added, citing Jennifer Massey, public information officer for the Tualatin Police Department. In addition, OregonLive said the case was referred to the Washington County Juvenile Department.

The school district, however, would not comment to the outlet on the specific disciplinary actions it's taken against the attacker.

A number of students had their cellphones out and appeared ready to record video of the beatdown — and it didn't take long for it to spread on social media. Among those who reposted the clip was conservative figure Riley Gaines, a former swimmer who now advocates for the rights of women and girls in sports. Gaines said the attacker "should be charged with assault as a male."

Another social media post making the rounds was penned allegedly by the victim's mother: "Yesterday my daughter was attacked at school by a biological male student dressed as a girl. I cannot even put into words my anger at the situation after watching his horrific video nor my distraught [sic] knowing I can't do anything because I will ultimately end up in jail."

The post added that "assaulting someone is never ok BUT a boy/man should NEVER lay hands on a girl/woman, and that's on the parents for not raising a decent human being."

What did school officials have to say?

School district spokesperson Traci Rose told OregonLive that federal privacy laws prevent district officials from commenting on the attacker's gender identity.

The school board on Wednesday held a school safety and well-being forum and on Thursday released a statement about the "incident":

It is important for the community to understand that all the individuals involved are minors including the victim, the originator of the assault, and the students recording and sharing this violent act. As minors, there are laws in place that protect their privacy. As this is a criminal investigation involving minors, no details will be provided to the public.

Students and adults contributed to the sharing of this recording that exposed minors who were directly and indirectly involved without consent. In addition, the sharing of this incident has spread across the country and beyond, inspiring false information and a focus and discourse on sexual identity. These acts have contributed to the trauma individuals and families are already experiencing.

At Wednesday's forum, the attack prompted questions about the district's discipline policies and if there's a "zero tolerance" stance against violence, OregonLive said. However, Superintendent Sue Rieke-Smith defended the district’s "progressive" policies and said it doesn't enforce zero tolerance.

“The research is clear. Zero tolerance has not worked and it exacerbates the potential for school violence,” she said, according to OregonLive. “What is more important is that there is a consequence that is meted out and there are supports that are wrapped around that student.”

Another video?

It's also been claimed on social media that another video shows the same attacker beating up not one, but two girls.

In this second clip, the attacker faces two girls in a gymnasium and shoves one to the floor. The other girl takes issue with the attacker's actions, and they both start punching each other before the attacker forces the second girl to the floor and hits her a few more times.

Bomb, school-shooting threats

OregonLive reported in a separate story that Hazelbrook Middle School on Friday evacuated its students and staff after bomb threats were made against the homes of school and district staff members as well as city officials. School-shooting threats also were made, the outlet said, which prompted the middle school evacuation. District spokesperson Traci Rose told OregonLive that the threats were made through social media and email.

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