High School Football Players Allegedly Abused A Student With Down Syndrome & Threatened To Kill Him If He Told

High school football players bullied and abused a boy with Down syndrome, threatening to kill him and his family if he told anyone.

A football helmet lays in the grass.
Lucas Andrade / Pexels

High school football players bullied and abused a boy with Down syndrome, threatening to kill him and his family if he told anyone.

Lesli Woodruff sent her son with Down syndrome, Jack, to Roncalli High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, because she believed he would be safe and experience a sense of inclusion there. Unfortunately, he was not kept safe but was reportedly bullied, abused, and threatened by the high school football team, according to USA Today.

Jack, a football team manager, reportedly returned home one day after practice and told his mother that something inappropriate had happened that day. One of the other football players had allegedly recorded him going to the bathroom, the player telling Jack that he would be posting it to Snapchat. Jack was reportedly humiliated and fearful of others seeing the video. Woodruff immediately alerted the school of the incident and was assured that the video had been deleted — and that the student who took it would be punished. It wasn’t until later that she learned that the student who took the video received only suspension, also being allowed to play in that Friday night’s football game.

However, Jack’s bullying was apparently far from over. Several football players were allegedly angry with him for telling on them, and decided to teach him a lesson. While in the locker room, one football player reportedly held Jack down and forced him to lick his nipples. Meanwhile, the other players allegedly stood around and watched, taking videos and photos. They then allegedly threatened him, telling him that if he told on them they would kill him, his family members, and his friends. They then allegedly went into graphic detail describing how they would carry out this threat.

Jack’s mother did not hear about this second account of bullying through her son, presumably because he was too afraid to tell her. Instead, one of the football players told his parents about the disturbing events that had occurred. The parents wrote an anonymous letter to Woodruff to inform her, writing that they chose to be anonymous because they were worried about retaliation upon their own child.

Woodruff immediately filed a police report and withdrew her son from Roncalli. She said that she decided to go public with this story because of the poor way she believes Roncalli handled this situation.

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“At the school level, it’s ‘nothing to see here, move along.’ It is a culture of secrecy and protecting, where people are afraid to tell the truth,” said the family’s lawyer, Curt Johnson.

Unfortunately, bullying in schools continues to occur far too frequently, and it can have extremely tragic consequences. As The Inquisitr previously reported, a 10-year-old Texas boy committed suicide earlier this year after being bullied in school.


If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.