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Florida High School Student Suspended for Defending Gay Student from Attacker: VIDEO


Mark Betterson, a student at East Lee County High School in Lehigh Acres, Florida, was suspended for 10 days after trying to stop another student from beating a gay student, WFTX reports:

Mark Betterson says he realized he had to do something when he saw a fellow student throw milk in another's face, use gay slurs, and then start to hit him. James Griffin, 18, is charged with battery. His alleged victim, 18-year-old Jonathan Colon, who is openly gay, walked away with bruises on his head. Many who saw the fight say it could have been worse if Betterson didn't step in.

Said Betterson: Johnathan was just going to stand there and get beat up. And if I didn't jump into it, it would have gotten serious. I was just trying to break up the whole thing because it's jst not fair for somebody to get beat up for something that he is."

Watch (warning: autoplay), AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. What?? Someone does a right thing and is punished.

    Posted by: Matt27 | Feb 9, 2014 2:33:51 PM

  2. What an amazing person that mark is. And seriously, what the hell is wrong with Florida?!

    Posted by: Ali | Feb 9, 2014 2:49:20 PM

  3. Stand your ground. Free murderers. Let assailant go and punish the hero. Yep, that's Florida.

    Posted by: JEFF YORK | Feb 9, 2014 2:53:13 PM

  4. Thank you Mark Betterson! I'm sure your help will change Jonathan Colon's life. I remember once when I was attacked by two guys and one girl at school, several acquaintances fought with me to even things out. It changed my life.

    Posted by: LEV | Feb 9, 2014 2:53:41 PM

  5. As disturbing as this is, what's equally disturbing is the message that it sends to the other students: get involved, protecting another from more serious injuries, and you to will be punished.

    Posted by: Belthazar | Feb 9, 2014 3:00:49 PM

  6. God Bless Mark. Here's a young hero who serves as a role model for ALL of us to look up to and follow. Great job.

    Posted by: Brad Doles | Feb 9, 2014 3:18:10 PM

  7. another example of zero tolerence policies, without brains involved, gone awry. parents need to get together and ask hard questions of these misguided administrators.

    Posted by: northalabama | Feb 9, 2014 3:30:55 PM

  8. Well, in my experience, the people who do the really stupid things are our "educators".

    Posted by: Joel | Feb 9, 2014 3:35:50 PM

  9. What do you expect from an anti-gay, anti-woman,anti-black, anti-latino backwards Republican state ?

    Posted by: Icebloo | Feb 9, 2014 3:39:57 PM

  10. Law suit.

    Posted by: JonnyNYNY2FLFL | Feb 9, 2014 3:44:36 PM

  11. Much love to Mark!! Jonathan, you need to thank him, for doing what you should've done, fight for what's right. I'm glad that someone was there, but Jonathan needs to learn how to fight on his own, too.

    Posted by: CC | Feb 9, 2014 4:05:25 PM

  12. This is insane. I can't imagine a suspension looking good on this students transcript.

    What's great to hear, though, is that the student getting beat up is holding a rally for the student that stood up for him.

    Posted by: GJP | Feb 9, 2014 4:12:50 PM

  13. Way to go and show leadership and maturity, East Lee County High School. You've now show the face of lawlessness, immaturity, cruelty and abysmal leadership.

    Posted by: woodroad34 | Feb 9, 2014 4:15:07 PM

  14. This doesn't surprise me at all. The new MO is still to shot the messenger and not get the message. We have been harassed by neighbor for years and we believe the police appear to be trying to spin the circumstance that we are the aggressor because we are reporting the crimes. Someone shot at our property and for some reason that won't investigate it.

    Posted by: Jerry | Feb 9, 2014 4:41:14 PM

  15. This is absolutely the 'zero tolerance' policy gone awry.

    Punishing someone trying to stop serious injury in an assault as much or more than the one committing the assault is asinine. Griffin isn't just a bully, he's a thug who assaulted another student. Mark stepped in to stop it and was then attacked himself but the school treats them as equally guilty.

    Mark, you did the right thing. Never falter on standing up for what is right.

    Jonathan & Mark (both of you) call Llamda legal.

    Posted by: SERIOUSLY | Feb 9, 2014 4:50:43 PM

  16. Breaking up a fight is not fighting. The school needs to fix this immediately.

    Posted by: Randy | Feb 9, 2014 4:58:11 PM

  17. It's STANDARD PROTOCOL to suspend anyone involved in a fight. Not just in Florida. I'm pretty sure this is true of all southern schools. Even if you only jumped in to break it up you are still at fault for being involved. Zero tolerance regardless of reasons keeps A LOT of fights from happening or increasing to uncontrollable size. It sucks but welcome to the 21st century.

    Posted by: Craig | Feb 9, 2014 5:22:50 PM

  18. "Breaking up a fight is not fighting."

    And even if it IS fighting, it's fighting for what's right.

    Posted by: StudioTodd | Feb 9, 2014 6:09:58 PM

  19. What kind of message is Florida trying to send? Stand up and do the right thing and you'll be punished. Pull out a gun and murder an unarmed black kid and be treated like a hero. No, there's no racism in Florida.

    Posted by: Mike | Feb 9, 2014 6:35:00 PM

  20. Florida? Nuf said.

    Posted by: Geoff | Feb 9, 2014 6:52:54 PM

  21. that's it? there's nothing else to the story? What about word from the school on this obvious mistake on their part? did anyone reach out? Jesus do some actual reporting TOWELROAD!

    Posted by: jake john | Feb 9, 2014 6:56:05 PM

  22. Good job Mark

    Posted by: Reality | Feb 9, 2014 7:13:25 PM

  23. Florida allows the gunning down of black men for no reason under the guise of stand your ground laws so in a way this is not surprising. The only thing Florida has going good is the weather, what a messed up state.

    Posted by: NY2.0 | Feb 9, 2014 7:20:13 PM

  24. So I guess the school administrators would suspend a student that tried to stop a gunman from shooting them? Zero Tolerance...

    Posted by: sword | Feb 9, 2014 7:32:55 PM

  25. Mark Betterson is the definition of "hero". He should not be punished. This zero tolerance policy is moronic. So if a student on school grounds is being raped or murdered, other students who can intervene are just supposed to sit idly by and let it happen? That's why in some jurisdictions in the U.S. we have Good Samaritan laws so that it is a crime if we don't act in some way to prevent this violence from happening to others.

    Posted by: SpaceCadet | Feb 9, 2014 7:57:55 PM

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