When a teenager with autism and epilepsy was assaulted at school, witnesses filmed the incident instead of intervening.
Nick Hoffman is a 17-year-old who attends Polaris Career Center in Middleburg Heights, Ohio. He’s told his mom, Jennifer, that he’s bullied every single week at school.
However, this is the first time that an attack on the young man has been captured on camera and shared on social media. The footage is disturbing and heart-wrenching.
“He tells me all the time, ‘Mom you don’t know what I deal with everyday, you don’t know what its like to be me.’ And I don’t know what it’s like to be him,” Jennifer said. “And now I have a better understanding what it’s like to be him and it just breaks my heart.”
According to a police report, Nick was attacked not once, but twice that day. The first incident occurred in the locker room around 9:00 AM.
“This kid came up to me and I was like, ‘Hey, and what do you need?’ and he punched me in the face and kicked me in the back with steel-toed boots,” Nick said.
That student was promptly dealt with and suspended from school.
But later that morning, Nick was attacked again — this time, by a friend of the student who had initially attacked him.
This was the assault that was captured on video, indicating it was a planned attack, according to local police.
“This one is a little more violent and we’re going to follow through with it,” said Police Chief Edward Tomba. “You know, show a prosecutor the video and let them decide what action they want to take.”
The alarming cell phone video shows Nick’s attacker punching and kicking him repeatedly on his head and body while standing over him. Nick had crouched down low to the ground in order to protect most of his body against the blows.
Nick suffered from a concussion and muscle soreness after the attack.
Superintendent Bob Timmons of Polaris Career Center released a statement to Fox 8 Cleveland:
“We were made aware of an incident that occurred yesterday of an alleged student assault which was video-taped and posted to social media. We immediately began an investigation and are following our disciplinary procedures. We take any form of aggression seriously as the safety of our students is our first priority.”
Jennifer hopes that the video of her son being abused will bring awareness about bullying to schools.
“I just want there to be an attention to the bullying. It needs to stop,” she said.
Nick hopes for the same things, and said, “Everyone should just treat each other with respect.”
Watch the video to learn more. Be warned that the footage is very tough to watch.
C. Dixon likes to read, sing, eat, drink, write, and other verbs. She enjoys cavorting around the country to visit loved ones and experience new places, but especially likes to be at home with her husband, son, and dog.