A questionable incident between a male high school cheerleader from Malden, Massachusetts and a pair of fans from an opposing team in Melrose is now being considered a hate crime, according to police.
“Following the game, the Malden cheerleading squad exited through the crowd towards the team bus, according to Pat Ruggiero, Melrose director of health, physical education and athletics. According to police reports, a 17-year-old, male cheerleader from Malden alleged that an unidentified female teen from Melrose began harassing him with homosexual slurs. When the cheerleader ignored the taunts, a male teen accompanying the female, described as a 17-year-old, white male with a lip piercing and wearing a black hat, allegedly punched the cheerleader in the face and several times in the chest.”
After talking with the victim, police have decided to brand the incident a hate crime as verbal slurs were attached to an assault. Police are searching for the suspects. Melrose High School, which held a Diversity Day event after the incident and reportedly disciplined the students involved, feels their actions were appropriate.
The school’s superintendent disagrees with the police: “We don’t feel it was a hate crime. We took a negative and turned it into a positive, both for Melrose and Malden.”