Juvenile arrested in TikTok-inspired attack on LGBTQ+ students in Barrington

Barrington police have arrested a boy on two counts of battery and disorderly conduct alleging he shot a pair of Barrington High School classmates with a water bead gun on school property last Wednesday.

Authorities said an investigation determined that a third Barrington High student was struck with the water beads during the suspect's participation in the social media platform TikTok's "Orbeez Challenge" but declined to press charges.

One of the victims suffered a minor injury from a pellet fired by a SplatRball Water Bead Blaster, police said.

Junior Matt Petersen, a 17-year-old transgender student, said he and his boyfriend were shot the morning of March 16 in the school parking lot. His mother, Kristin Stedman, told the Daily Herald Sunday that one of the pellets broke the skin of her son's boyfriend and left a sizable welt.

In an email sent to the school community Thursday, Barrington High School Principal Steve McWilliams wrote, "During our investigation, we have learned that some of the students who were the victims of this incident are members of our LGBTQ+ community. We have spoken to all parties involved and have referred this incident to the Barrington Police Department for further processing."

"Disciplinary consequences will be in place for the students involved, and we have been meeting and supporting the impacted students," he added.

Barrington Area Unit District 220 Superintendent Robert Hunt sent a message to the district community Friday.

"Please know the district took immediate action to investigate and issue appropriate consequences for those who participated in the challenge," he wrote. "Additionally, we are providing support for the victims and any others who have been impacted by this event."

The juvenile is being prosecuted in Lake County, where the school's property lies.

Barrington High parent: LGBTQ students targeted in TikTok-inspired attack

  Matt Petersen, left, with his mom, Kristin Stedman, both of Barrington. Steve Zalusky/
The forehead wound of Matt Petersen's boyfriend. Courtesy of Kristin Stedman
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