A 17-year-old Bayside High School student was arrested after Palm Bay police said he punched another student carrying a campaign sign supporting President-elect Donald Trump, according to Florida Today. The incident also left a school resource officer injured, police report.
Police said the fight happened about 1 p.m. Wednesday during gym class at the 1901 DeGroodt Road school.
The teen, who is not being identified by FLORIDA TODAY because of his age, was charged with felony battery, resisting without violence, disruption of an educational institute and battery after police were called to the campus to investigate the disturbance.
“It definitely had a political motivation. The boy was carrying a Trump sign and walked into the gym. The other boy punched him in the face,” said Lt. Mike Bandish, spokesman for the Palm Bay Police Department.
The disturbance at the 1,570-student school was confined to the two students. The teen was then escorted to the dean’s office where he confronted other staff members.
“Whether the boy was a Bernie (Sanders) or Hillary supporter I don’t know. Emotions are high and the school resource officer did the best he could to de-escalate the situation.”
Witnesses said the school resource officer arrived at the dean’s office and attempted to calm the student down. The officer grabbed the teen and placed him in a bear hug. However, suffered an injury during the arrest and is on leave pending his recovery.
“The other kid was exercising his free speech. But none of these kids can vote. And while it’s good to be involved in politics we cannot condone violence,” Bandish said. The teen was taken into custody and booked into the Juvenile Detention Center in Sharpes.
Similar politically involved disturbances were reported at the school following the election of President Barack Obama in 2008.