Iowa teen Levi Null, 13, struggles with Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD. He’s always been picked on, but recently the bullies began ramping up their behavior: they started making videos of Null at school—some of them videos of his involuntary movements caused by Asperger’s—and then posting them online with school computers.
According to Null’s mother, the videos showed students hitting Null, smacking him, and teasing him all while the teachers are shown turning away. On Monday, Josh Ehn, principal of Melcher-Dallas High School, told WHOTV that the video was taken offline, destroyed, and all those involved were disciplined.
But the parents of the kids involved in the video are now standing up for their kids. The father of the teen who uploaded the video, Levi Weatherly, says Null is asking for it. “I would say three-fourths of this stuff he brings on himself and and probably a fourth of it is bullying that shouldn’t be going on,” Weatherly said.
Since airing the news story on Monday, the news station has received over 100 comments— not in support of Null and his family—but in support of the bullies. Most of the comments blame Null for his disabilities:
Jamie Harrison wrote: “He called my nephew a nasty name and my nephew Cole cocked (sic) him in the mouth. I`m proud of my nephew for doing that.”
Nate Goof wrote: “This kid has done things to get people mad that I think he could probably control.”
The principal ultimately ruled that the video did not even “meet the criteria” for bullying and the school board President, Bob Lepley, says he stands by the principal’s decision.
Now, because of the backlash, Null is afraid to go to school. However, his mother also notes that at least two students have come forward to apologize for their behavior, saying they didn’t know how much it impacted Null.
A comment by a parent:
My 7 year old son has Asp….he was being bullied by his whole class this year. However his teacher defended him. In the end I found out he was being bullied and targeted by his own special education case worker and the school nurse. When I went to the vice principal about it after his IEP meeting she looked into my concerns and sure enough they were valid. I have decided that when we move next month he is going to be home schooled. My child has an extremely high IQ and has been tested and deemed gifted. His social skills however suck. He absolutely cannot relate to kids his own age, he’s too damn smart. The kids see him as weird and freak out when he talks about stuff they don’t understand…for example he was sent home because he told a child that if you are sucked into a black hole in outer space you will die. The child told my son’s caseworker and my son was sent home for threatening behavior. I kid you not. I went up one side of them and down the other. I seriously thought the case worker was joking when she called me in. I told her I’d be checking his backpack for black hole generator. The school nurse called me up and said he was faking being sick at school…turned out he had pneumonia. She didn’t even listen to him, she immediately said he was faking it.