Video shows autistic student body-slammed, injured at Lakeview school

An ABC7 Eyewitness News Exclusive
CHICAGO (WLS) -- The mother of a student with autism said her son was attacked at school, and video posted on social media shows the teen being body-slammed by another student.

Gabrielle George said everyone at his school knows her 14-year-old son TJ has autism. He has won numerous medals at the Special Olympics and functions well enough to go to public school.

But she said on Monday, TJ's school called to say he'd fallen on the floor while goofing off with another student. Then she heard a different story from other parents and students. George said TJ had a separated shoulder and head trauma. She said the school failed to report how serious the incident was until she saw video on social media.

"What actually happened to my son was completely opposite the story that I was told. Had I known that, I would have immediately come and got him. He should have been immediately taken to the hospital," she said.

"If you saw the way he was thrown on the floor, he's lucky he didn't snap his neck," she added.

George said one of her son's classmates sent her video that was posted on social media, showing another student picking up her son horizontally at least five feet in the air. TJ said it started with the other boy making fun of him.

"That's when they grabbed me by the chest and threw me down on the floor," TJ said.

"Everybody knows he's autistic, so why would that happen, why would anybody allow that?" George said through tears. "And if you watch the video..."

The school's principal said he has seen the video and sent a letter to parents regarding the incident.

"I was very upset to see the video, but at the same time I was very proud of the fact that other students were the ones who brought it to our attention," said Paul Karafiol, principal of Lake View High School.

TJ said he doesn't really know the other kid who was involved in the incident. And he's not sure about going back to the school.

"I sorta do but I hope they treat me with respect," TJ said.

"I don't want him to go back," his mother said. "I was promised they would protect him. That they would keep him from this very thing. And now, where do I go, where do I send him?"

The letter sent home to parents said while the video is disturbing, it is a bit out of context and doesn't show the full incident. The school also said it takes bullying very seriously.
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