OLMSTED FALLS, Ohio — An Olmsted Township mother says the videotaped assault of her son should be seen so that the public is aware of how bullying affects students with special needs.
Jennifer Hoffman told 3News that her son, Nick, a 17-year-old junior at Polaris Career Center and Olmsted Falls High School, is seen in the video covering his head while being repeatedly punched and kicked by another student.
WARNING: The below video may be difficult for some to watch; viewer discretion is advised
"I just want more awareness toward bullying. It needs to stop," she said. "No kid should ever be treated this way or fear for safety going to school trying to better themselves."
The mother says her son has autism and epilepsy, making him a target for bullies. The events on Monday reinforced that fact. Her son, she said, was assaulted twice Monday, the second was captured on video.
"It was really difficult to watch," she said. "I could only watch it one time.
"It was so difficult to see as a mom. And just to think what could have happened...He’s OK."
Hoffman told 3News that she received a call from Polaris notifying her that a student had attacked her son in the locker room early Monday morning. That student was removed from school.
Later that morning, the student's friend approached Nick and began pummeling him, while someone recorded the beating and others stood by and only watched.
The video shows her son on the floor, covering his head while a heavier student repeatedly punched and kicked Nick.
A medical evaluation showed her son suffered a possible concussion and muscle soreness, Hoffman said. A CT scan and X-rays were negative.
After seeing the video, Hoffman reached out to 3News, hoping to spread greater awareness. She said bullying is almost a daily occurrence against her son, she said.
"Nick has always been treated differently and it’s hard as a mom," she said.
The mother said she is pleased with the response from school officials, who suspended both bullies. But she hopes parents will now talk to their children about bullying and how it impacts other children and their families.
On Wednesday, 3News spoke with the sister of the accused (also his legal guardian), who said she was "disgusted" by what happened and that her brother "deserved the consequences of his actions."
School Superintendent Bob Timmons released this statement Tuesday:
"We were made aware of an incident that occurred yesterday of an alleged student assault which was video-taped and posted to social media. We immediately began an investigation and are following our disciplinary procedures. We take any form of aggression seriously as the safety of our students is our first priority."