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7 Suspended After Transgender Teen Attacked at High School

by Foluké Tuakli and Associated Press /
A long empty corridor in a New Jersey high school. (Photo by James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images)Corbis via Getty Images

Seven students at a New Jersey high school have been suspended following the assault of a 14-year-old transgender student, according to school officials.

Kylie Perez was attacked last week by another student in a hallway at East Side High School in Newark. School officials said the student who beat Perez and those who recorded it have been suspended and will have disciplinary hearings this week.

The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office said the incident is being investigated as a possible bias crime, but no charges have been filed so far.

“It just makes me very angry and hurt that my daughter had to experience something like that in this day in age especially” Perez’s mother, Lillian Richards, told NJ.com.

Perez and her mother met Monday with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and school administrators. District officials have planned a series of assemblies about acceptance that will feature Perez as a speaker.

"I'm not going let it fade away," Perez said. "I'm going to make sure that people know that trans lives, every life, matters."

Related: Trans Teen's Murder Raises Question: Do LGBTQ Hate Crime Laws Work?

Christian Fuscarino, executive director of Garden State Equality, a New Jersey LGBTQ advocacy organization, said schools in the state "need to do more" and "need to do better."

"This type of incident is unacceptable, and we must expand our anti-bullying work in schools," Fuscarino said in a statement.

Garden State Equality also encouraged teachers, administrators and support staff to be provided with additional training on issues affecting LGBTQ students.

"This is vital because LGBT-inclusive curriculum has been shown to be the single most significant factor in reducing anti-LGBT bias among peers," Fuscarino added.

School administrators said they are currently working to ensure this doesn’t happen again, and East Side High School is actively participating in programs for Anti-Bullying Month, which is in October.

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