We parents hate to think our kids are capable of extreme cruelty. So it's normal to defend them against what we perceive are character attacks. But there are some instances where mothers and fathers are clearly living in denial. The most recent example involves a group of teens in Iowa. They are accused of bullying a 13-year-old special needs student. And get this -- the parents are saying that this kid with Asperger's syndrome basically deserved the attacks. I'm sorry, folks, but this is exactly why our society is going to hell in a hand basket.
The victim, Levi Hull, has been afraid to go to school since some kids posted a video of his involuntary movements (due to Asperger's) on the web. His mother says it was done to hurt and humiliate him, and I certainly can't blame her for feeling that way.
The father of one of the perpetrators admitted it was the wrong thing to do but says the special needs kid brings the bullying on himself. To be exact, this dad says that three-quarters of the attacks are Levi's fault. The remaining one-quarter is the only little bit that is unfair. He's apparently not alone. Other parents were quick to defend the harassment of Levi.
Since his mother has complained and tried to stop the bullying, she says that the whole family has become a target. When the news first broke, townspesople responded with more hate. One person wrote, "He called my nephew a nasty name and my nephew cole cocked [sic] him in the mouth. I'm proud of my nephew for doing that."
Another person said, "... this kid has done things to get people mad that I think he could probably control." But as any expert will tell you, that is an unfair statement to make about someone with autism. Many people with this disorder don't have the ability to control their actions or emotions.
Who are these people? Where is the compassion? Where is the empathy? But these parents aren't the only ones to blame in this. The school district found that the video was not technically bullying since it did not create a "hostile school environment." Seriously? I think being humiliated because of a medical issue is a particularly hostile act.
This all boils down to one thing: If parents don’t do the right thing, how can we expect their kids to? It breaks my heart that they can just shrug their shoulders and justify the mistreatment of a child who is clearly in need of help. It's as though there is no sense of community. Fortunately, two students have apologized to Levi since seeing him on the news. Perhaps this town's parents should follow suit.
Do you think what happened to Levi was bullying?
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