Earlier this week, a video was posted on Instagram showing a Venezuelan girl being beaten by a group of her classmates last Friday at Southwest Middle School in Orlando, Florida.
“The girl that they’re beating is the niece of a childhood friend,” reads the caption by Edicson Estrada, a broadcaster in Caracas, Venezuela. “They’re from San Antonio de los Altos” —a suburb 12 miles south of the capital— “and they live in Orlando, Florida. [My friend’s] niece was beaten for simply being Venezuelan.”
The students were making fun of how the girl, Leonela Caballero, spoke, and when she answered back and told them her nationality, they rushed her and started beating her, according to the Venzuelan newspaper El Nacional.
Two requests for comment from school administrators went unanswered as of Friday afternoon.
“What is happening in Florida schools with Venezuelan kids that are being beaten?” wrote Venezuelan journalist Idania Chirinos, who shared the video on her Instagram. “It’s unthinkable to accept this type of events. Sanctions must exist so that they aren’t repeated. We already have information on a similar case at another school.”
The “similar case” presumably refers to a video that went viral earlier this month showing a Venezuelan boy with autism being punched by a fellow student at Liberty High School in Kissimmee, Florida.
The boy, Luis Alejandro Osechas Carrillo, was reportedly attacked even after the video.
“The incident occurred in October and the students received the appropriate discipline,” read a December 13 tweet from the Osceola School District in Central Florida. “Student safety is of the utmost importance for our students.”
“What fault do we have being Venzuelan?” wrote Estrada.
“Venezuelans are a large community in Florida, and not recently but for many years back!” wrote Chirinos. “We have contributed to the progress and economy of the state.”
“ENOUGH WITH THE MISTREATMENT OF VENEZUELANS,” Estrada added. “WE WANT JUSTICE.”
Pablo Manríquez contributed to this report.