NEWARK, New Jersey - A 14-year-old transgender student is recovering after she was kicked and punched in the hallway of her high school in Newark last week, and on Monday, demonstrators rallied to show their support.
Members of the LGBTQ community stood outside East Side High School in support of Kylie Perez, after school security cameras captured her being punched to the floor by a male student.
"It's been hard," Perez said. "There's more love than hate. I'm trying to avoid the negative."
The student was suspended and the school district and the city responded, meeting with Perez and her mother and organizing efforts to promote tolerance at the high school. Six others allegedly involved in recording the incident were also suspended.
Still, the majority of East Side students stood away from the rally, saying tolerance isn't the problem. They say perez posted a video on social media mocking the alleged attacker for suggesting she is pretty, not knowing she is transgender, and that too was not fair.
"I feel that she's not the victim," one student said. "She posted something on SnapChat, and the boy seen it, so it involved him. And nobody bullies her, because there's a lot of gay people here."
The Essex County Prosecutor's Office has said the incident is being investigated as a possible bias crime. But no charges have been filed so far.