Thursday, January 26, 2012

In Maryland, autistic boy beat up at the bus stop while peers watch and cheer; One posts video on Facebook

From WMAR-TV in Baltimore:

Disturbing video has surfaced of a autistic boy in Cecil County who is punched by another boy while other children watch.

The victim, Kaleb Kula, (pictured) is a sixth-grader at Elkton Middle School.

“I knew I was probably going to get injured,” he told ABC-2 News. “I wasn't really scared because I knew what would happen.”

Kaleb also said he’s been the victim of bullying at school for years. He's been diagnosed with a form of autism, along with attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder.

“At least kids that don't have special needs can defend themselves a little bit more. He's pretty much defenseless,” said his father, James Kula.

During a typical day at school Kaleb says the other kids: “Call me homosexual. They try kicking me, pushing me, punching me, and a lot of other things.”

His parents say they've made dozens of requests for help.

“It’s very stressful I mean you worry all the time, is he going to have a good day, are they going to do anything about when he has trouble with other students,” said Kaleb’s mother, Jessica Kula.

School officials declined to speak about Kaleb's case specifically, but they say offending children can be disciplined. And they also bring parents together to discuss issues between students.

Elkton Police tell ABC-2 News the boy in the video who hits Kaleb Kula has been charged as a juvenile with second-degree assault.

But the Kulas say the school system never did anything until last year, when they were told to fill out a form officially reporting that their son was being bullied.

“We have a policy that we follow, the investigation is conducted and no matter how that report gets to those administrators they will follow through and look into the situation,” said Kelly Keeton, of the Cecil County Public Schools.

The child who took the video posted it on his Facebook page where it was viewed by dozens of students and also Kaleb's parents. “It feels terrible as a parent to watch that happen to your son. And I just can't believe that kids can be so mean,” said Jessica Kula.

Kaleb hasn't been back to school since Tuesday; his parents say he will try to go back again on Friday.

“I'm going to try to put this behind but then it's going to come running back in front of me and confront me again. That's what I think will happen,” Kaleb said. “It's like a groundhog trying to run from its shadow.”