A Pennsylvania teenager with cerebral palsy was violently attacked by bullies at his school, who then posted video of the attack and shared it on social media, WPXI (Pittsburgh) is reporting.
Isaiah Wooding, 16, a student at Penn Hills High School, was minding his own business at school Friday when he was set upon by a gang of bullies, he says. As he was rounding a corner, one fellow student, who was standing by with his or her video camera, began recording him. Another student approached him and kicked him in the chest.
“I got kicked in the chest. I fell backwards and hit my head. I was kind of hurt, embarrassed.”
Making matters worse for the teen bullying victim, the student who recorded the assault then posted the video on social media, where it continues to be shared.
In the video, which will not be embedded in this post (you can see it here, but be warned: this video contains disturbing content), you can see a student appear to jump up and kick Isaiah in the chest. Other students can be heard laughing at the assault. The assailant then approaches Isaiah before the video cuts out.
Margaret Wooding, Isaiah’s mother, said she is outraged by the assault.
“I cried when I saw that because it’s like ‘Wow.’ How can kids be that cruel?”
She’s also surprised that the assault on Isaiah, who also suffers from seizures, didn’t trigger any kind of medical emergency. Fortunately, Isaiah seems to have survived the assault OK, at least physically, according to CBS News Pittsburgh.
“I’m kind of angry and hurt. I feel like the violence of anybody, not just me, should stop. When I got up, I couldn’t even move at the time. I didn’t even know what hit me.”
For Isaiah’s mother, she wants to see the students who assaulted her son, and recorded the assault and shared it on social media, brought to justice.
“I just want them removed from school whereas my son can go to school and not have to look at them.”
Ms. Wooding would also like to extend her campaign for justice to tackle the problem of bullying in general.
“I want [school administrators] to set up a workshop for children to be able to feel comfortable speaking out, going to someone, telling them what’s happening and someone actually listening to them.”
— CharitableCreationz (@CreationzCustom) February 6, 2016
According to Stop Bullying, kids and teens with special needs, such as cerebral palsy, are at increased risk of bullying, not only because they’re different, but because they may be physically weaker and less likely to be able to fight back. Further, kids with special dietary restrictions, such as certain food allergies, can be targeted by bullies because they’re different. Cases have been reported of bullies trying to force kids to eat something that they’re allergic to — a potentially fatal act of bullying.
Meanwhile, school officials in the Penn Hills School District are aware of Isaiah’s assault and have vowed to make things right. In a statement, Superintendent Dr. Nancy Hines promised that anyone involved in the assault and/or posting it on social media will be “dealt with accordingly, including referrals to law enforcement.”
“Assuming the video clips are authentic and have not been altered, our full staff and Board are absolutely disgusted and embarrassed by the lack of compassion displayed by students closest to the incident and those who created further upset by recording and posting those terrible images online.”
As of this writing, it is not clear if police have identified the individuals responsible for assaulting the young teen with cerebral palsy, or whether or not they have been charged with any crimes.
[Image via Shutterstock/Suzanne Tucker]