COBB COUNTY, Ga. — A high school student was attacked and beaten between classes and, according to her, the attackers are still in school, at Pebblebrook High.
The student, who is transgender, said she is still being threatened by her attackers.
A video of the attack emerged on social media, and someone who says she is the victim's cousin shared it. A warning--the video may be disturbing to many who see it.
The attack happened on Tuesday afternoon just before the last class of the day.
The 15-year-old student, Shantae Payne, told 11Alive she was "blindsided."
"I didn't know who they were," she said.
Shantae enrolled in the school back in October, transferring to Pebblebrook from a school in Macon. During the attack, she said she lost consciousness, in a daze as someone helped her to the school nurse.
"On Thursday she walks down the hall and one of the boys walks right by her and threatens her," Shantae's guardian, Blanche Payne said. "[They were] telling her that if she comes back to school 'we're going to drag her in the bathroom,' they're going to attack her."
Blanche said the young men should be arrested.
“No one has a right to judge or attack someone because they are different," she said.
Violence against transgender people across the country continues to increase, according to the Human Rights Campaign. There are already more known attacks and deaths of trans people this year than in 2020, itself a record year.
The 2021 list includes Sophie Vasquez, who was killed in Brookhaven back in May, although police said she was not targeted for being trans.
As for Shantae, she has no doubt why she was targeted at school.
“People like me are judged every day, we are targeted every day,” she said. "This is a hate crime. This happens all the time and it’s swept under the rug. And me being who I am, I’m not going to let it go, I need to be heard because I have a voice just like everybody else, and I’m going to use it."
Shantae said that school administrators told her they are investigating the attack.
On Saturday a spokesperson for the Cobb County School District emailed a response to questions from 11Alive about the incident:
“Administration is aware of the video and is investigating. All involved students will be dealt with according to district policies. We are unable to provide further detail due to privacy laws which protect student criminal and discipline records.”
11Alive is also working to confirm whether those involved may also be facing criminal charges.