Thursday, October 29, 2009

Colorado teen with CP says he was bullied, tied to fence

From The Denver Channel:

FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- Kevin Kaneta, 15, said walking is hard enough but school is a nightmare.

Kaneta, who was born with cerebral palsy, said he has been the target of bullying since third grade and each year, it gets worse. When asked, "Why?" Kaneta said it had to do with his disability.

"They go after me because they see me as a vulnerable target," said Kaneta.

Kaneta walks slower than most kids and tends to drag his feet because his brain is working overtime to tell his legs what to do. His mother, Tyleen Wilson, said the attacks and bullying were so bad she feared for his safety every time he went to school.

"I worry if he'll come home today ... What if they really hurt him?" said Wilson.

Wilson said the kids trip her son, pin him down and pour dog food in his mouth and kick him between the legs. But the latest incident enraged her.

Kaneta, a ninth grader, had his Facebook page up and she noticed a picture where his hooded sweatshirt was tied tightly, up around his face.

"I thought it was a joke. Then he told me the story," said Wilson.

Kaneta said his classmates tied the sweatshirt tightly around his face and forced him to walk around the playground. Kaneta said kids then ganged up on him and ripped the sweatshirt off, which cut his eyelids.

Another picture that a classmate tagged on Facebook showed Kaneta up against the playground fence.

"They tied both arms of my sweatshirt to the fence post. They zipped up my jacket and just watched me struggle to get out," said Kaneta.

Wilson said she is furious with Liberty Commons Charter School for not doing anything to protect her son.

"They said they have a zero tolerance policy," said Wilson.

The school's headmaster, Russ Spicer, sat down with 7NEWS but would not comment on the incident or allegations of rampant bullying.

Wilson said she was removing Kaneta from the classroom. She said it's unfair but the only way to keep him safe.

"He's not going back. I won't put him through that anymore. He has a right to a decent life, just like everyone else," said Wilson.

The father of the boy who posted the Facebook photos told 7NEWS he would have his son remove it but said he had not heard anything from the school about it.