Yesterday we reported that Logann Pruneda, a student at Bullard High in Fresno, California, was outside the school during a fire drill when several students launched full boxes of apple juice at her from behind and called her homophobic slurs including “faggot, queer, and lesbo.”
The attack left Pruneda, who was celebrating her 16th birthday that day, with bruises and abrasions on her neck. She said that she has been frequently bullied but never has it gotten physical.
The district said it has launched an investigation into the attack but says it has no witnesses and no surveillance footage.
Now, a cash reward is being offered as police seek information on the student or students behind the attack, the Fresno Bee reports:
The district is planning to open an anonymous call line to encourage students to supply information, and is working with Fresno police to investigate.
Fresno Police spokesman Mark Hudson said Wednesday that police are seeking information from students and hope to make progress on the case soon.
“It’s an assault that can also be investigated as a hate crime based upon sexual orientation as a substantial motivating factor,” Hudson said. “Once we are able to obviously speak to a person who’s willing to talk to us, who committed the crime, then we’ll have more evidence to try and move a case forward. We’re asking for students’ help in identifying who assaulted her.”
Former Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea, along with two other donors, is offering a $750 reward for any student who identifies the perpetrator.
What makes the attack more disturbing is that the anti-LGBT bullies have a role model in the school board president, Brooke Ashjian, who has recently been speaking out against the LGBT community, the Bee adds:
The incident comes amid a push by the district to offer more support for LGBT students in response to criticism of comments by school board president Brooke Ashjian.
Ashjian is under fire for speaking out against LGBT-inclusive sex education lessons and for comparing LGBT advocates to perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide.
At a school board meeting earlier this month, Ashjian stepped away from the dais during a vote to proclaim October as LGBT History month, and was marked absent.
Watch a video of Ashjian’s remarks:
Pruneda told the paper that she is speaking out to help others like her:
“All the things I’ve gone through in life, they’ve made me who I am today. I’m stronger than I was in seventh grade. Ever since I came out, I finally get to be who I am on the inside, and I want people to know there’s a chance for you to be open with the world. They may throw things at you and say mean things to you, but it will be worth it in the end.”