Northfield Mount Hermon preparatory school students Jonathan Shapiro, 18, and Matthew Rogers, 20, are alleged to have carved the word "homo" onto the back of an unnamed classmate using a pocketknife.
According to Police Chief David Hastings the victim's wounds were still "very visible" 3 days after the incident, when he first saw them. "The letters were 4- to 5-inches high and ran all the way across his back," Hastings explained.
Shapiro and Rogers allegedly targeted their classmate because he liked the British rock band Queen, which Rogers dubbed "a gay band." Both have pleaded innocent to charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault with intent to maim and assault with intent to intimidate resulting in bodily harm.
Given that the incident was classified as a hate crime, Shapiro and Rogers will have to undergo diversity training and counseling if they are convicted. Both could face a maximum sentence of 25 years imprisonment.
Northfield Mount Hermon is a coeducational school with 1,139 students in Greenfield, Massachusetts.