Autistic boy, 15, beaten up in Graham-Kaposwin school bathroom as classmates film horror
GRAHAM, WASHINGTON: A horrific attack has left an autistic Graham-Kaposwin student beaten and bruised, after he was punched repeatedly in the men’s bathroom as classmates watched on and recorded the entire thing.
Nell Vance has identified the victim as her 15-year-old son, Landon. Vance said Landon is living with autism and that he had no idea what was going on. The video showed Landon being beaten while he was completely defenseless and clueless. The boy now has a chipped tooth and welts in the back of his head.
Initially, school authorities called Vance to tell her that Landon would be suspended as they thought he was at fault. However, once Vance showed them the video, they realized their mistake and called him back to school.
“Absolutely defenseless and obviously clueless to what’s going on and just hearing the sound of him crying and knowing this happened to him and I couldn’t do anything to stop it,” says Vance. She is distressed that the school authorities initially thought it was Landon's fault for not walking away, without knowing his condition. She said that they only reversed their decision once she showed them the video.
Vance also said they left a voicemail on her phone Tuesday morning saying her son hadn't done anything wrong and could return to school.
“But I’m keeping him home until I feel like it’s safe for him to go back to school,” added Vance. Landon will stay at home doing what he loves, which is playing the drum and guitar.
Vance also took to Facebook to write about the incident.
The district is taking the matter seriously, and even denied media houses' requests for interviews, saying, “We want our families and students to know that any incident that threatens students’ health or safety is taken very seriously.”
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case and says the attacker could be charged with a misdemeanor assault.
“I don’t want there to be other Landons and other mothers that have to watch and endure a video of their child being bullied and beat down in the bathroom,” says Vance.
Similar attacks against special needs students in school premises have been on the rise recently. In September 2021, an autistic student was beaten up at Howell Public School in Michigan by bullies who also recorded the attack. In another incident, a Kentucky student with autism was severely injured after being beaten up by four strangers. Police and district authorities are trying hard to come up with preventive actions against such attacks.