NANTICOKE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The mother of a Luzerne County teenager who was bullied in school is speaking out and demanding justice for her son.
The incident, which was caught on camera and posted on various social media sites, shows her 15-year-old son being punched by another student while others stand by and watch. It happened last Friday inside a restroom at the Greater Nanticoke Area High School. She says her son is autistic.
“It’s really hard, even now days later, to watch the video because it shouldn’t happen to any kid but a kid that is mentally handicapped just makes it so much worse,” she said.
School district officials and the Nanticoke Police Department are investigating the incident. Detectives tell Eyewitness News they expect to file charges in the case.
The incident has once again raised questions and concerns about bullying and the impact it can have on the victim. Unfortunately, we continue to see and hear about bullying incidents across the nation and right here in our area. Eyewitness News talked with a psychiatrist who says a bullying incident in many cases is not simply a one-time event. It can haunt the victim for a lifetime.
“Oh my God,” said psychiatrist Dr. Matthew Berger upon seeing the video of the bullying incident at the Greater Nanticoke Area High School.
“Traditionally when people bully they tend to find people who are already vulnerable, who are already somewhat victims especially for young adults or even children who are already sometimes feeling isolated. They are not sure of their self-esteem. They are not sure of their place in society that’s part of the growing up process,” Dr. Berger said.
And Dr. Berger says in some cases it is not a one-time event.
“When you’re bullied in that situation, it can really leave a significant scar. There are patients who I know in their 70s and 80s when I talk with them, were there any traumatic events in your life, they say yeah I was bullied as a young adult. Even though it’s 60 years later, it still leaves a mark,” Dr. Berger said.
And Berger tells us that emotional damage can be magnified when the incident is posted on social media.
“When you and I were growing up we went home that was it we were done. You got bullied in school you went home your mom protected you. Now between social media, text messaging, tweets, and emails you can’t get away from it. You don’t have a respite,” Dr. Berger said.
Dr. Berger says those marks and scars can fester for a lifetime until the person opens up and talks about it with someone. Most area counties have agencies that can provide counseling services for victims of bullying.
Caught on camera, a bullying incident inside a Luzerne County high school.
Now the police are investigating and the victim’s mother is speaking out. The bullying took place inside the Greater Nanticoke Area High School and we must warn you, the video may be disturbing to some viewers.
The video was taken inside a bathroom at the Greater Nanticoke Area High School. It was taken by a student and posted on social media. One of the students on the right side of the screen wearing a dark-colored shirt was punched by another student.
At some point, he tries to talk to the aggressor and also tries to defend himself, but he gets punched again. Some of the students exit the restroom. Others appear to be congratulating the aggressor.
The victim is the 15-year-old son of the woman who does not want to be identified to protect the identity of her son. She says he is autistic. She learned about the attack late Friday night when a family member sent her the video.
“I went into my son’s room, asked him what happened. That’s when he actually told me the entire story. He was pointing stuff out on the video,” the woman said.
She says she’s not surprised by what she was watching.
“That one kid in particular, the main aggressor in the video, has been going back and forth with my son the entire school year. He’s been bullying him and teasing and picking on him. There have been issues between them before that the school was aware of. They could have prevented it. But they didn’t. They need to make a lot of changes at that school,” she said.
The superintendent of schools issued a statement on the incident: “The incident is being investigated by high school administrators and Nanticoke Police Department. We will not tolerate the level of violence evident in that post. I can see charges by the police department being filed and administrative consequences for the actions of those involved.”
The mom fought back tears as she talked about what her son went through.
“It’s really hard, even now, days later, to watch the video because it shouldn’t happen to any kid but a kid that is mentally handicapped just makes it so much worse,” she said.
Her son has not yet returned to classes and may never go back to the school. She says he is simply too afraid to be in the school.
The mother of a 15-year- old student at Greater Nanticoke Area High School speaks out about her son being bullied.
He suffered bruises during the incident that occurred inside a restroom last Friday in the high school. Video of the incident has gone viral.
She insists the incident could have been prevented by district officials. Nanticoke Police are investigating as are District officials.