TEEN BULLIED: Neighbors Say Bullying Justified

Levi Null, 13, of Melcher-Dallas is afraid to go to school after some students posted an online video of his involuntary movements caused by Asperger’s Syndrome.

Levi’s mother says it was done to humiliate and embarrass him.

The father of the teen who posted the most recent video admits it was wrong, but says Levi brings most of the bullying on himself.

“Yes he does,” says Levi Weatherly, the father of the teen accused of posting the video. “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.”

Watch the original story

That seems to be the belief of a lot of people in Melcher-Dallas.

Levi’s mother says since she tried to stop the bullying, she has become the victim of it.
“Horrible,” says Dawn Simmons. “Exhausting. Lots of Facebook messages, posts, families fighting battles, arguments over the community, the school, the staff – it’s been a very frustrating day for all of us.”

After we aired Levi’s story, we received more than a hundred comments on it, many slamming Levi.

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.”

But experts say that’s not true.

“Individuals with autism don’t have the ability to turn it off and turn it on,” says autism specialist Evelyn Horton. “They may sometimes respond to the environment that they’re in and respond more strongly than they may at other times.”

According to the state, ”’Harassment’ and ‘bullying’ shall be construed to mean any electronic, written, verbal, or physical act or conduct toward a student which is based on any actual or perceived trait or characteristic of the student and which creates an objectively hostile school environment” (Per section 280.28).

Watch the raw interviews

The principal at Melcher-Dallas High School sent Levi’s mother an e-mail saying, the “…Video posted online was not found to be bullying,” because it did not meet the criteria.

The principal wasn’t available for comment, but school board president Bob Lepley says he stands by the principal’s decision. At first the head of the school board refused to comment.

(Wife) Angie Lepley: He told you he doesn’t want to be on tv, he doesn’t want to answer any questions.

Aaron Brilbeck: So he doesn’t have a responsibility as an elected official to respond?

AL: That’s not what he’s saying, he’s saying he’s not talking to you about it.

AB: So he’ll talk to other people about it?

Bob Lepley: No. I stand by our principal… According to his investigation I’ll have to stand by him.

The teen who posted the video was disciplined under the school`s intolerance and bigotry rules, but not for bullying.

Levi’s mother tells us two students have apologized to Levi for bullying him saying they didn’t realize how their actions affected Levi.

To view the complete interviews with Levi Weatherly, Bob Lepley, and his wife Angie — click here.

344 comments

    • saharath

      I think the principal is doing everything in his power to not receive the full blunt of a law suit. Since it happened under his watch and in his school he is the sole person who is responsible for these incidents. it is like a politician being caught in a scandal, you either accept it and make up for it or you absolutely deny everything. By stating the definition of bullying he’s just done what many people do, read into the syntax and interpret the laws. There is a loophole and he will exploit congratulations mate you’ve just entered the world of United States.

      • jinny

        It’s time you went back to your homeland where people’s hands are cut off for stealing and acid is thrown in women with the guts to say No to a man.

    • BK

      I agree Chas. The principal speaks like he has been coached by legal representation. The state policy for bullying talks about harassing based on a “perceived trait or characteristic”. The state really needs to revisit this policy. Here’s a quote from the head of child Psychology at the University of Iowa Health Care “If you know one child with autism, you know ONE child with autism”. In other words, the professionals don’t find it easy to perceive this disability, yet our school policy expects children to. It’s difficult enough to get AEA and staff educated in matters of ASD.

      • BK

        For 14 years I have sought to be the dad I need to be for my son with high functioning ASD. Through all the experts, parenting groups, and research – allow me to share a poetic analogy to help some understand what evaded me for so long and evades many in this small community.

        “…when I refuse to give them a blue one they pound at me, kick me and call me names like, ‘stupid machine’. (2004, Sondra Williams).

        Sondra is an adult with high functioning ASD (such as Asperger’s). To learn what Sondra is talking about, and perhaps a bit about what Levi’s world is like – Google “Sondra Williams gumball theory”

        http://www.aspires-relationships.com/writings_sondra_the_gumball_theory_to_language.htm

      • Jen

        “Of course” what? The principal deals with teachers reporting in on various kids every day and has to sort through he said / he said all day long. An Aspergers boy may come off as a complete jerk – he’ll shrug and look away, or answer very literally if at all, or with patience that sounds condescending and provocative when he truly doesn’t see what you’re not getting. This is a recognised syndrome – these kids are DIFFERENT and need different handling. My son used to blurt out answers as they crossed his mind – and instead of being told JUST ONCE “That is correct, but please raise your hand” he spent a whole term being ignored and the next kid to raise THEIR hand and repeat the answer he’d given would get acknowledged and praised. As an Aspy he did not take this as a hint to start raising his hand. Instead he shrugged, that teacher hates me, why should I try. From the teacher’s point of view there’s a rude kid, he’ll get it eventually. Nope.

  • Patti Guy Sheeler

    Sounds like there are a lot of stupid hicks in the Melcher-Dallas area that have no idea what Asperger’s is and how it affects a child (or an adult) that has it. Also, what kind of adult would be proud to have a kid hit another kid in the mouth? No wonder the kids don’t know any better than to bully, the parents don’t know enough to teach them.

    • jamie harrison

      well patti, I’m proud of my nephew for standing up for himself.. YOU ONLY GET BULLIED IF YOU LET YOURSELF GET BULLIED.. This poor kid needs help, he needs to be in a school that deals with his special needs, doesn’t belong in a community school. didn’t your parents always tell you to stand up for yourself??

      • Lisa Cheney Long

        promoting physical assault is certainly not the answer!!!!! It is only promoting acceptance of assault. Be proud of it all you need to justify but it is wrong no matter how you butter it up!!!

      • Crystal Hart Helms

        There is a difference between standing up for oneself and using it as an excuse for bad behavior. And that is what we see here. If he called your nephew a bad name your nephew should have reported it, not hit the kid. Once he did that, he was even more in the wrong than the first child because he escalated the confrontation. Plus, if you think that your nephew is “normal” and the other kid is not then that only means that your nephew is the one that should have known better.

      • Chris F

        Jamie,
        My parents taught me to be respectful and to follow the golden rule. Supporting your nephews violent behavior against a child with disabilities is a cowardly, pathetic, embarrassing move on your behalf. Under your thought process the mother of Levi deserves to punch you in the face, right? But because you are retarded I’ll stand by your side and suggest she just ignore you.

      • AspieSis

        And you are what’s wrong with society! Condoning physical violence! Teach your nephew to settle this with his tongue and not his fists! Do you not understand a thing about Aspergers? The things this child says are involuntary reactions to his emotions. Your nephew would get a lot farther if he simply looked this boy straight in the eye and said “Levi, what you said/did to me hurts my feelings and I don’t think it’s very nice!” Plus, ever heard, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire”? If this child insulted anyone it’s because they antagonized it out of him! Just because autistic children don’t “look” handicapped doesn’t mean they’re not! Would you treat a child the same way if they were in a wheelchair? Would you condone your nephew punching a child with Down Syndrome? I think not! Ignorance breeds fear of the unknown! EDUCATE YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY!!!

      • Mrs. Barbara Pecze

        My stepdaughter has aspergers, but thanks to a new school with zero tolerance on bullying, and help from mental health, she is doing well. Her lyrics are to put to music and recorded by the school band. Social cues are hard for her, but with time and effort, they can learn to function quite well in society.

      • Ashley

        He definitely doesn’t belong in the community school if he is calling other kids names and what not. Whether it’s a condition or not, other kids shouldn’t have to suffer being called names because, of Levi’s condition. Kids this young aren’t going to understand this condition. NOW on another note, there is a difference in defending yourself and hitting someone. Levi called a kid a name (supposedly) and that kid hit him back for that… interesting.. It would only be defense if Levi was causing physical harm but, he wasn’t. Your nephew (Jamie Harrison) took it to another level and that is where you are wrong. You are promoting violence when violence wasn’t there top begin with. Levi’s parents should have been notified if there was an issue with him calling names or what not but, these kids are taking it into their own hands by “hitting him where it hurts”, bringing to light a condition that he cannot change or help! All of you parents in this situation need to wake up and realize where you are in the wrong as a parent to think anyone in this situation was in the right. SICK!

      • CJ

        First of all, he doesn’t need a special school. Special schools teach slower and are for kids with learning issues. Being that he is an Aspie, his IQ is probably higher than most of the Neurotypicals in his class. Why should he get a lesser education because these kids are mean? If anyone should be in a special school, it is your nephew and other bullies. Try military school I hear it teaches them some respect, which clearly his parents are not teaching him!

        It is NEVER a victims fault for getting bullied. Parents of Neurotypical children need to educate their children on bullying. You have no idea the amount of bullying that goes unpunished because NT children know how to socially make themselves look innocent and the victim look guilty and how they get friends to back them up in situations so they don’t get punished. It happens all the time in schools. Parents should not be praising their children for fighting. If someone is beating them up, then yes defend yourself, but don’t go picking on people just because they are different.

      • Bailey VandeKamp

        Yes, my parents have told me to stand up for myself. Did they tell me to punch someone? Of course not, no parent would say that. It seems to me that this boy won’t stand up for himself because he has realized it is no use, the bullying is going to continue to matter what. If your nephew had been punched, it would not have been self-defense, it would have been harassment. Funny how the tables turn when you step into someone else’s shoes for a change. The reason there is so much bullying going on is because there are people like you in the world; who were bullies when they were kids. Since you were always dominant, you think everyone should just learn to stand up, even though all you were doing is bringing them down. There would be a lot less violence and bullying in this world if people like you didn’t encourage such violent and distasteful acts.

      • David Kretschmer

        “you’ll only get bullied if you let yourself get bullied”…. what an utter load of garbage, I bet you think rape is the victim’s fault too.. The science says you’re wrong, the experts say you’re wrong, but somehow I doubt you and your pathetic excuse for a human being (aka your child) knows a thing about science.Dumb hick.

      • Angelica

        You are an IDIOT! You clearly have no idea what Autism is, and your ignorance is what is wrong with this world. How dare you justify bullying a child who has a disability.

      • Karen Kovalik

        I would hope you would have some understanding, compassion, and tolerance for neurodiversity. There is a physiological difference in this child’s brain, a developmental disorder, that puts him constantly in a fight-or-flight state. Imagine how you might feel while driving in a blinding rain in a lot of traffic with lights shining in your eyes and 20 kids screaming at you. Your brain would be quickly taxed and you would likely have impulsive, angry responses to people and things that you wouldn’t respond so negatively to under normal conditions. He feel this “sensory overload” all the time, and it has an effect on his behavior. Please try to have some tolerance and understanding.

      • King Derp

        Your ignorance may fly in that little ignorant community of yours, Jamie Harrison, but now you’re trying to make your ludicrous point on the internet – where a few(emphasis on FEW) intelligent, informed, and reasonable people have been known to peruse.
        All you’re going to do is make yourself, your family, your friends, and your local community look like a bunch of stupid, mindless, violent savages that find a violent response to something you dislike to be entirely reasonable. That you think acts of violence is acceptable toward people with disabilities makes me almost wish you could be disabled and picked on by someone to see if you learn the errors of your ways. Alas, I can’t wish it because I’m a touch too civilized to want harm to come to a person because they’re different or hopelessly ignorant.
        I don’t honestly expect you to understand.

      • B. Love

        Well, jamie, what did your precious nephew do to in the first place to cause Levi to call him “nasty name”?! Didn’t your parents teach you to turn the other cheek? This poor kid has had to far too often, and it looks like he had enough. Your bully nephew was just the one to get a “nasty name”. Instead of just giving another name back (if Levi was the first to say something), he HITS Levi. You’re a real great example. My guess is your were a bully yourself.

      • SomeoneShouldSockYou

        You make me physically sick. It’s monster like you that make me glad I live in NYC and not some god-forsaken hillbilly stronghold like this hell hole. Seriously, I will just send this story over the next time some moron tells me I should move to Bubba-land to save on bills. You should be ashamed of yourself and your nephew. He’s probably your son too (that was an inbreeding joke, I know you people are too dumb to realize that).

      • Frogman

        It doesn’t matter what is said, it’s still no reason for a physical assault. I would donate money for this mother to get a lawyer and take your nephew to court for Assault and Batter!

      • Dave Thomas

        Yeah beat up the retarded kid! That’s the ticket! Instead they should share 5 piece spicy chicken nuggets. Dumb hillbilly.

      • Cristin

        “You only get bullied if you let yourself get bullied”. That’s statistically incorrect. Jamie, your nephew picked on a disabled child. Read that last sentence back aloud. It’s the truth, and it’s ugly. If my daughter did something like this to a vulnerable classmate, I would feel like a failure as a parent and as a Christian. Empathy is the most important thing we can teach our children. Your nephew showed a lack of empathy and instead of admitting that and addressing it, you’re defending his behavior. Please be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

      • saharath

        I think you fail to realized that bully can be both psychological and physical. A school is a child’s second home and the teachers and administers are the second parents. School shape the mind of the young, but because the administrators are turning a blind eye and stating that this is okay the children perceive it that way. Making a child feel unsafe at home is not okay. It all seems like a political motive than anything else. The school just doesn’t want to take responsibility for what happens on school grounds. Who do you apologize to if the child does some unthinkable harm to him/herself. That is the cases of many bullied children, will you be those people sitting there shaking your head telling them that they brought it upon themselves?

      • Pam

        I suppose a provocatively dressed woman is just asking to get raped too? If she’s not armed, well then she is definitely asking for it. These are some f’ed up values of yours

      • Matthew

        Wow you are a real piece of crap Jamie…..you inbred, Any adult that thinks it is ok to punch a mentally handicapped child is sick. You and your whole town of white trash ignorance. Karma has a way of getting back at you and I hope its a hefty one. You disgust me and so does your nephew.

      • Leo

        Sticks and stones may break my bones (but words will never hurt me).

        Its strange how so many can stand up for themselves without using violence. I wonder how they do it… I wonder how their parents teach them to cope with things they don’t like without resorting to violent behavior.

      • Serena

        If he had hit your nephew I might be more inclined to agree with you, however that is not the case. You said he only called your nephew a dirty name. Why did he not just ignore it and walk away instead of resorting to violence. Is he so delicate that he cannot hear bad words without coming to fists? You are doing your nephew a disservice by saying that sort of behavior is acceptable. Stand up for yourself yes but you dont bring a gun to a knife fight. That is not standing up for yourself.

      • St. Louis

        It is called “assault” and is a crime. Since your nephew has been taught that it is okay to assault someone who says something he doesn’t like, I hope your family has a lot of money. You will need it for lawyers, bail, etc., etc. It takes the whole thing to a terrible new low when you realize that your nephew has been considered a hero of some sort for punching a child with a disability. Self control and tolerance are hallmarks of people who have character. Sadly, your family has none of that. Again…start saving for a life dealing with the criminal justice system. It’s in your immediate future.

      • Krantzstone (@Krantzstone)

        Well, at least now we know where these bullies get their morals from. The two students who apologized for the bullying have more morality in their pinkies than you do in your whole being. But sure, be proud of helping to raise a bully, I’m sure your nephew will be proud when he ends up in prison for engaging in that same behaviour as an adult.

      • Jim

        Jamie, you’re obviously an idiot of little intelligence. To be proud of your nephew for standing up to a special needs child shows how much of a loser you really are. The other kids who post videos of this child should be dealt with to the fullest extent possible.

      • krislankay

        Call a child a name, does not warrant a punch in the face. That is NOT standing up for yourself. Now if the boy attacked your nephew, then yes..that is a different situation. But you are saying that if anyone says something you don’t like, you are justified in hitting them simply because you have to “stand up for yourself”. That makes no sense…

      • Maryann

        “well patti, I’m proud of my nephew for standing up for himself.. YOU ONLY GET BULLIED IF YOU LET YOURSELF GET BULLIED.. This poor kid needs help, he needs to be in a school that deals with his special needs, doesn’t belong in a community school. didn’t your parents always tell you to stand up for yourself??”

        Thank you Jamie for helping me understand what the real problem is with SOME people in your town. Again I said SOME people in your town.

        You said, he doesn’t belong in a community school , under the guise of looking out for him. You and any of the people in your town that think like you really need to come into the present because your way of thinking is WAY outdated. Perhaps you and others like you could take a few minutes of your time to look up Autism, Aspergers, etc so that you could have a better understanding of it and how difficult it can be for the children that are affected by it, as well as their families instead of shunning them.

        I have to say that after seeing some of the nasty comments made by some of the people in your town I find it hard to believe that your nephew did nothing to elicit the name calling by the boy.

        Thank God that I don’t have to live in a town such as yours filled with such a large amount of backwards people that actually take pride in being ignorant.

        I see in one of your posts that you speak of God, so forgive me if I’m wrong in assuming that you call yourself a Christian, but if you do you may actually want to actually look into the teachings of Christ.

      • Autism Mom

        Jamie-karma will come around
        Outraged Iowan…it’s obvious that you have no idea what autism is or you wouldn’t have responded to Rob the way you did.

        -Educate yourself, raise awareness and be accepting-

      • rahul

        my parents taught me that civilized people never resort to violence. seems like you and your nephew are the only ones that should be riding the short bus.

      • Sunshine

        Are you seriously trying to justify using fists in response to a special needs child using hurtful language? Is that seriously what you are saying? What. Is. Wrong. With. You?

      • Doug

        People like you are what’s wrong with the world. Your nephew is lucky he doesn’t live in a area where people have moved beyond stone age thinking. Here we have zero tolerance for such wonton violence. Here your nephew would have been arrested for assault and expelled from the school. He was would have been the one sent to special school, a school for troubled youth.

      • English Sherpa

        @jamie harrison
        The “poor kid” who “needs help” is the primitive, ill-bred, little savage who was raised to think physical violence is the answer to being called a name.
        Hitting people because you don’t like what they say is a sign of exceedingly poor parenting, praising the child for doing so is setting him on the path to a long and varied prison history.
        You, and your entire family, are in need of therapy to teach you how to deal with your anger and frustration issues in a civilizes society. Moreover, that poor, ignorant, violent nephew of yours needs to learn impulse control but would probably be better off taken away from a family with such uncivilized ideas of child rearing.

      • AQ

        Really Jamie, if you’re proud of your nephew for punching a disabled child in the face, that just speaks volumes about what low-class pieces of garbage you and your family are.

        Don’t come crying to me when the little troglodyte winds up in prison after he turns 18, mmkay?

      • JG Vargas

        Well, you are so proud of your nephew, you should be glad the other kid didn’t come back with a gun and put a bullet over your nephew’s head. We are not in 1990’s anymore, if a kid was bullied, they could solved it with a fight after school and it was done. Not anymore. Now they have access to guns, knives, gangs, social media, etc. I was bullied and I did my best to stop it. Sometimes it was better to walk away, other times it was best to confront the person. But like I said, those days I didn’t hear about crazy kids shooting others in their school, or shooting others because they didn’t like them.

      • Jennifer Tidd

        Why should Levi “go to a special school” when his educational needs, as is the case with most children with Asperger’s Syndrome, can be met in an inclusion public school setting? I have a 21 year old Asperger’s Syndrome son who is brilliant, was reading the complete works of Nietchze at age 11. He was in all honors classes in HS and graduated with a 3.7 GPA. The difference though, between his school and poor Levi’s, is he was surrounded by decent people who saw his differences as unique and wonderful and they treated him with love and respect. On the two instances where he was clearly bullied, his school principal stood up for him and those kids were suspended. The other kids all rushed to my son’s defense because that was the right thing to do for any decent, civilized person.

        It sickens me more that ADULTS, or at least adults chronologically, clearly not mentally, are attempting to justify the bullying of a child on the autism spectrum. No, Levi cannot control his self-stim ASD behaviors and to expect him to simply to comfort bigots is ignorant and unconscionable. Your nephew and all the bumpkins claiming Levi deserved to be bullied will languish in your own hell, which I am certain is likely your very bleak and miserable lives. I suspect Levi will go farther in his life than any of your mediocre children.

        Levi, if you happen to read this, as a mom here with not one, but two children on the autism spectrum, life does get better once you remove yourself from such ruthless ignorant people later on. Don’t allow how they treat you to define you. You in no way are lesser than anyone else, only different. I am sending love and support to you and your mother, and if your mother needs someone to talk to who has gone through some of what you both are dealing with now, or wants to learn how to advocate for stronger bullying criteria to be enacted in your county, please contact me at JenniLittonTidd@aol.com. I am here for you both. Neither of you are alone. There are millions of people in the autism community, and those who know us and love us, who support you and send you strength and hope. You are a special young man, like no other in the world. Know this and do your best to be the very best you can be despite what is occurring around you. I know at your age, that is so very difficult, but you are not worthy of how you are being treated.

        To the principal and the superintendent of schools, SHAME on your both. Neither of you has ANY business being anywhere near children in any capacity. If I lived in your state or had any power there, I would move heaven and Earth to have you removed from the school system entirely. Levi deserved more than what he got at your school, and by federal law, the Federal Disabilities Act of 1991, section 504, you are legally obligated to accommodate his needs, one of which is feeling and being safe in your school without the fear of being bodily harmed by other students or taunted to the point where he no longer wanted to go to school. He has every bit as much right to be in the public school as every other child in your district. School is more difficult for Aspies, and your lack of definitive action and weakness in dealing with the IDIOT parents supporting this bullying just made his life and his education that much more difficult.

        God bless us all. What a world we live in where an entire community feels justified in ganging up on a special needs child.

      • Maria Gonzalez

        Hey Jamie pretty sure we’ll be hearing about your nephew again in the future when he’s killing small animals around the neighborhood. Seeing the kind of thing you promote in your family is making me guess you’re raising a bunch of psychopaths

      • MaryCannon Derisory Apodaca

        Jamie… I was the FAT kid at school and add to that my name was one that was abused and made fun of to the point I hated my name. My parents were poor farmers…. I wore homemade clothes because Mom couldn’t buy childrens clothing big enough for me. Mom was an excellent seamstress .. still, my clothes were homemade. I got picked on at school when the teacher wasn’t around, but no one ever hit me or tried to hurt me. It was a different time 60 years ago, but the name calling, because I was fat, poor, wore home made clothes and had a name … and old fashioned name, that apparently was fun to ridicule me for left some nasty scars on my spirit and soul. I was not taught to fight back… I didn’t make fun of those who made fun of me, I didn’t call them names, and even had I been hit I wouldn’t have hit back. I was taught better than that.
        To say this child doesn’t belong in a public school is very wrong. He has every right to be there, and in fact the school has an obligation to see to it that he has a proper education.
        At what point would you decide who should and shouldn’t be in the school system. Would I too be on your hit list because I didn’t measure up to you expectations?
        The more I see here the more I wonder about the adults involved. I read where PUNISHMENT has been handed out.. where children have been GROUNDED for their behaviors. How about parents sitting down with their children and explaining the situation. These kids don’t need to be punished, they need to be informed/educated. It is NOT JUST the responsibility of the school to educate.
        Sounds to me like the Mother of this boy could use some help. Not all of us come equipped to handle a special needs child. No doubt this Mom is struggling and it is sad that rather than offer her help, so many would rather deny the problem and ignore the needs here.

      • Bren Coldren

        Jamie-I grew up in Iowa and have lived in a number of states and countries the last 20 years. I have ALWAYS been proud to tell people I am from Iowa and what wonderful people live there. After reading this article about the treatment of Levi and his medical disorder, I do not feel the same pride. Autism Spectrum Disorder is a medical condition you have no control over. Each case is different and the medication to help combat symptoms does not “make it better”or “make it go away”. It is not due to upbringing or background. It is not something that can be “controlled”. Stress, like Levi has had to endure constantly, tends to magnify the actions and reactions as well. There are hundreds of thousands of people who live and function with this condition but are not comfortable with everyday tasks and social interaction. They may function at a different level, have different medication, learned different coping mechanisms or simply have had people surrounding them that are more understanding and willing to work with them to make their lives easier to deal with. They excel at certain tasks that we “normal” people are just that at…normal or average. Most likely, they just want to be accepted for who they are and be left alone.

        My son has ASD and is high functioning but from reading the article about Melcher- Dallas School District, would not be welcomed or happy there with the type of people that are intolerant of others who are different, are unwilling to open their minds and hearts and accept those differences, and are ignorant of the facts and diagnoses surrounding ASD. We have been extremely lucky to have had outstanding support from our son’s schools and his teachers have welcomed him and embraced his “quirks” that appear to have caused such outrage and disgust from you and your town. The students in the schools have followed the lead of the teachers and administrators and have treated him with respect, kindness and care. He loves going to school and feels like he has many friends that care about him and accept him. He never feels like he is being belittled, picked on, or made fun of. I attribute this to the level of knowledge, empathy and support from the principal, administration, teachers, PARENTS AND COMMUNITY.

        Levi should not need or be expected to attend another school. He will need to learn to function in the general population in his ADULT life so the high school should have been a great place for him to learn the skills he will need in a SAFE environment. He is entitled to the same assurance as your nephew of that safe environment but it has been denied him. And growing up in a small community, I know that the resources to send him to another school would likely be extremely expensive and time consuming. I would say a little education for your community regarding ASD would go a long way…but I am not sure it would get through to your community, which is extremely sad.

        I feel angry for Levi and his family but I feel ashamed for you, your community and the state of Iowa…and lastly for the less-than-proud former Iowans!

      • corena barber

        i attended Iowa schools during the sixties and seventies. Last year I spoke with a Iowa educator, you have my sympathies. It seems the desires to spew out educational credentials and experience along with edu-babble ease is the asset many educators possess . The educator I spoke with was a absolute airhead, and then you should heard what she stated about me. Educators probably at least educated. Those that claim they know more are usually low intellect and over paid

      • BullyHater

        Jamie, there’s a special place in hell for you. I hope you enjoy it, you Iowa hick. Do you know what we in Wisconsin say about Iowa? It stands for “Idiots Out Wandering Around.” Thank you for proving us right.

      • Justus

        Will not say shame on all of you because some of you hit the nail on the head and thank you. That Aunt of the kid who hit the little boy is nuts. The community that they live in is sick but they don’t see it.

      • Roz

        That works just fine, until you run into a much bigger bully.

        It won’t matter how many times Levi gets punched in the mouth. He has ASPERGER’S SYNDROME which means that his brain malfunctions. He cannot change the troubling behaviors. Got it? Violence won’t work. Levi. Has. Asperger’s.

        What’s your excuse?

      • Chuck

        Jamie, even if Levi was in the wrong here, how does that justify a physical assault for a verbal taunt? He should’ve been man enough to just walk away…will you also be proud of your nephew in 10 years, when he ends up in jail for doing the same thing to his wife after she says something he doesn’t like? You disgust me.

    • Ned

      Why are people PRETENDING that an Asper child is able to me “main streamed”? Clearly it is NOT working. Let this child have the special training and teachers that UNDERSTAND him. Perhaps they can teach him HOW to BEHAVE with other kids. Some of it be brings on himself and other behavior is something he has trouble controlling. You can’t expect normal kids to UNDERSTAND an Asper child. Truly it is time to stop PRETENDING this child is not working out in a main stream classroom!

      • BullyHater

        You bunch of cold, selfish, immature HICKS. Yeah, you DO deserve that name. Hey, 21st Century calling, maybe you want to JOIN the rest of us. Everyone ganging up on a disabled child all have box seats in hell, I hope you know that. I’m GLAD this went world-wide– yeah, sucks to feel BULLIED, doesn’t it? All the cry-babies on here whining about name-calling and what-not– SUCK IT UP, BABIES. Like it? No, you don’t– and you’re all (presumably) ADULTS. Imagine what a kid feels like. Really, go to hell, all you hicks.

      • MaryCannon Derisory Apodaca

        Twentyfirst Century ???? Are you kidding??? Most of Iowa don’t even know the Nineteenth Century ended and they have lost a whole 100 years. The first time someone told me Iowa needed to move out of the 19th and join the 20th I was wounded. Born and grew up in Iowa and believed we were an intelligent progressive people. Then I moved away for 11 years and came back. WHAT A SHOCK. I’m here because I wanted to be near my aged parents who are both now gone, but am now at an age where I need the assistance of my own children and so am stuck in south central Iowa and living in the 19th century again. Iowa is not a progressive state. I don’t know what to call Iowans… They aren’t the caring kind of people from the past. It seems everyone lives in their own little worlds and their way is the only way.
        Education NOT Punishment.
        Communication NOT Hatred and name calling.
        Responsibility NOT ignoring the problem.

        IOWA… Are You LISTENING?
        Nah.. that would be too much to ask or expect.

  • Drew

    As an individual with Asperger’s I can say that we don’t always make it easy to get along with us. When I was Levi’s age I didn’t always respond appropriately to the actions of others, and let’s face it, even the smartest high school students are still just in high school. He may not have understood how the other students perceived him, and they might not have realized how he thinks and reacts differently. What this community needs is to understand that he’s coming from a place which is essentially a social vision deficiency, and they need to understand he will act differently, and sometimes overreact. What Levi needs is to have someone explain very clearly and literally to him how his actions are perceived, and how other people might not always mean to offend him.

    • lifelong md resident

      so we are suppose to tell our kids that is ok for Levi to call them names, throw rocks at them etc? I will not tell my child to accept it! My child should get the same protection from this child….

      • Crystal Hart Helms

        It is your job or your child’s to report any abuse received at the hands of Levi. It is NOT okay for the children in the community to be given the green light to harass and bully another child. ANY other child. It only teaches them to handle violence with violence in return which will not prepare them for life as an adult where violence is not tolerated. He is ONE CHILD. And it sounds like he has a whole freaking community of children AND adults to fend off. He has a right to be defensive and even on the offensive if the posts by this community are any indication of how they respond to him.

      • Deborah

        It’s your freaking job to teach your kids compassion & empathy for people who are disabled. And understanding that while the disabled may act in ways that they don’t like, violence in retribution is wrong.

      • Dominion

        This child GOT no protection. Are people in your town born stupid? Or does it have something to do with living there?

      • Mary Vinas

        Wow! If anyone does not deserve to have kids it is you! We have our whole lives to encounter people that are different than us, including people with handicaps. This could have been a teachable moment where you teach your child empathy and understanding of someone with disabilities. Instead you believe you don’t have any responsibility in actually being a parent!

    • B. Love

      Drew, I respect what you have to say very much. I don’t have Autism, my grandson has Asperger’s. He himself is aware of how he can be and has tried to work on it, but that’s all he and you can do. Life is still miserable for by 14 year old grandson, because no one else will realize how THEY react to someone like you two. You can do everything in your power to be better yourselves and to try to deal with others, but they aren’t going to. I’m proud of you, my grandson, and others with Asperger’s who do what THEY can to make it better.

    • Ned

      Drew you are one of the more reasonable people here. Some Asper children can be main streamed. Others, like this one, is not working out. It appears that each is annoying the other. It looks like this child needs to be removed till he has better control of himself and learns how to socialize.

      Kids in high school are NOT interested in becoming Asper experts. They are going through their own changes. This Aper child makes an easy target. Clearly there is a clash going on. I can’t imagine the disruption this Aper child is causing for himself and others who are trying to learn. Just the fact that this made the paper highlights the posioned atmosphere.

      Parents on each side are lashing out to defend their kids. It’s time to remove this child and put him in a learning environment to help him cope with society.

  • a melcher-dallas student

    Because I know this will reach a wider audience here, I really feel the need to let everyone else know that we are not hicks nor are we stupid, and honestly, judging an entire town for a few people’s words is not justifiable, and that saying such doesn’t make you any better than the kids who have made Levi feel bad about himself.

    HOWEVER, it also seems that this news station, along with most of its viewers, don’t really seem to comprehend what /our/ principal said about us, as students, being the ones who can really stop bullying. Feel free to get yourself educated on his meaning by reading on — which is a snippet what I posted onto my Facebook account.

    Considering what was just addressed on the news, I sort of feel the need to explain what Mr. Ehn has said about it being the students’ jobs to ensure bullying doesn’t happen. No, he’s not saying that teachers shouldn’t do anything about it — all of the staff are mandatory reporters, they are required by state law to report any sort of abuse, mistreatment, or anything along the lines. What he’s saying is that just because a student goes to a teacher or staff member about an incident, that doesn’t mean it’s going to stop — said teacher can take the problem to the principal, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to stop, some kids will honestly stop at nothing and don’t care about getting in trouble. Students at our high school are expected to know what is right and what is wrong, we are what can truly stop someone from being mistreated, all by standing up to those bullying. That being said, those of us who are actually high schoolers, and not part of the junior high, can only look to those younger than us and try to help them make the right decisions. We are not in classes with them, and speaking from a senior point of view, I hardly even see any of the 6/7/8th graders aside from my one study hall that I sign out of — most of the time, we hardly even know what’s going on with one of them. With that being said, I don’t condone any sort of mistreatment of others, and if I see someone getting crap they shouldn’t be, I’ll most definitely do whatever I can to make it stop; heck, if any of the younger kids feel like they need someone older than them to stick up for them, feel free to let me know.

    For those who seem to think our community is horrible — it isn’t. You don’t live here and you’re only seeing what the media wants you to. Don’t believe everything you hear or see, it’s not fair to those of us who love where we live and couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

    • Crystal Hart Helms

      You are of course right that we should not judge your whole community by what a few people do. Unfortunately, it’s usually those few that are the most vocal about what they think and do. I’m glad to hear that there are many of you that don’t condone what has happened. I think that most people are mainly concerned because the teachers and administrators are supposed to be trained to handle this kind of thing. They are supposed to already know about an autistic disorder, and what that means and the fact that problems are occurring. Yes, students have to step up, but bullying goes so much farther than the kids, and from the comments on here, it sounds like a lot of the parents (of the bullies) support their kids being bullies. The school and community leaders are the ones that have to get a handle on it before it REALLY spirals out of control. That means dealing with kids and parents and anyone else involved. On both sides. Obviously, for this situation, things have gone on way too long for everyone and it is only a matter of time before someone is hurt much worse if it is not defused.

    • BK

      I am not always a fan of how certain stories are presented to the public or how information is gathered and shared, but I am quite impressed with how TV 13 managed this story. They posted the raw interviews on-line and the reporter did his job to push the hard questions with the right people. This is a case of media done right! Even if the sound were shut off on these interviews, most astute adults get a strong read on the character deficiencies, inexcusable ignorance and incompetence.

      I can see how this rubs a small community wrong. Small communities are accustom to keeping “their business” – THEIR BUSINESS. Hopefully as a result of this story, some much needed changes will be made to your school and its officials.

    • English Sherpa

      @melcher-dallas student
      “Students at our high school are expected to know what is right and what is wrong” They, quite obviously, do NOT know right from wrong and, it would appear, they will never learn it at that school!
      Your “principal” would be better off with a career cultivating mushrooms.
      He has no business being around children.
      He had a most excellent opportunity to use this horrid incident as a teaching moment.
      Instead, he inexplicably and ignorantly shifted the blame to the students. *face palm*
      Students were using school resources to upload videos of bullying, teachers witnessed bullying and turned a blind eye and this ill-equipped fool is blaming the KIDS?
      This would be the perfect time to launch an anti-bullying campaign, teach kids and their ignorant parents about the topic.
      Instead, he backpedals and distances himself.
      The “parents” defending the bullies are mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging scum

  • linda mattix

    Seriously a parent would be proud of his child for striking another child! What is happening here with the community is they do not understand how a child with Asperger’s thinks. There mind does not comprehend like a person without Aspergers does. Has far as this principal goes he should be removed from his position for making a statement saying the children should stop the bullying themselves. Does he not watch TV ads where they tell the children to find an adult and keep telling the adult until they listen and take care of the problem? If this was my childs principals answer to bullying I would pull him out of school so fast it would make his head spin! People in this town are standing behind the video and the bullying I am guessing because there kids are the “popular” kids in town. If I was the mother I would take my child out of school and move from this town as soon as possible. I would also contact a lawyer immediately!

  • Greg

    As a parent of a child with Autism I am completely disgusted by this story. The father of the accused child needs his head checked, how would he like to be bullied, yes it can happen to adults too. The principal is completely clueless and they are all covering their backside.

    Somebody in the school system needs to lose their job. How did the kids used their school computers to upload to facebook?

    Levi and his family deserve justice, he is a person just like every other student in that school. He should come to a real school system that will help him not beat him up.

  • Joannie

    OMG Bring it on himself? Seriously? No one deserves being bullied no matter how bad their actions are. And he has special needs. Then the one guy says he is glad his nephew cocked him in the mouth? Loser!!! You are a great example for your nephew!!! Let him think its right throughout his life! How dare you! Shame on the parents of Melcher Dallas! You are the type of parents we see on the news all the time after your child has bulied another child from being different and then that child commits suicide.

    • Peter CLifford

      Thanks Joannie at Least you have a reasonably working brain in your head i myself have Asperger’s Syndrome and have had shit like this AND MUCH MUCH WORSE doné to me by Italians, Lebanese and Greeks at high school in Australia (we Don’t have middle school like you do there)

      Ours is Primary k to year 6 and High y7 to y12 yeah not friggin good at all I know! to many 18 year olds killing and Maiming 13 year olds where I come from and the maimed and killed kids are USUALLY those with Autism and Or Asperger’s Syndrome.

    • lifelong md resident

      As a parent and member of the community it was never mentioned to any one that he had this disease. This only came about when the bullying issue was brought out.

      • srice

        Why should anyone have had to inform you that he had this disability? That is no more your business than it is his families if you have herpes.

      • BK

        Understood. Therein lies the “dilemma” of Asperger’s and high-functioning ASD. It is not a condition like Downs Syndrome or certain types of Tourette’s or severe Autism where the disorder is often outwardly identifiable. This is also why these children take a beating by their peers because they don’t wear a ‘badge’ that says “I’m disabled”, so there is low tolerance for some of the things they do at times. The frustration often snowballs within them. The general public expects Aspie and ASD kids to be able to “turn it off” like it’s their choice. This is why informed people are asking for this community to become educated and become advocates for these children.

      • responding to SRice

        Ya can’t have it both ways SRICE. the rest of the community is supposed to overlook the fact that Levi throws rocks at people and cars and uses bad language because he is ASD, but, it’s none of their business if he is ASD?!?

        If one of our neighbor children acted like that, I would not encourage my children to be mean to him/her, but, they would certainly be told that they have plenty of other friends, we do not need a 12 year old in our house that thinks throwing rocks and calling others ‘pu**y’ is acceptable. As a parent, I have the right to discourage my children from being friends with a child who does not seem like a good influence on them. As a homeowner, I have the right to not allow a destructive child into my home. Would you want your children hanging out with the local juvenile delinquent? If you don’t know that this child is ASD, they look ill-behaved and can be violent. (read the note about the boy who’s mother is afraid of him because he has violent outbursts brought on by anything from his schedule being changed to a food allergy).

        The ASD parents I know will say that while their children are wonderful kids, and they cherish them, there are definitely challenges and it can be difficult. If it is difficult for the parents, who KNOW THEIR CHILDREN very well, and know their situation, it’s REALLY going to be tough for someone who doesn’t know the situation and possibly doesn’t know the child that well.

    • RK - dealing with Aspergers

      Asperger’s (and autism in general) is not a “disease”. I can see where some people would see it that way. As a parent of a now young adult (he was dianosed with it elementary school), I can say it is no easy task to teach them about social queues and socially acceptable interactions with others. If you were to ever meet him, he would not make eye contact with you. Once he gets to know you, he will open up and talk your ear off.

      Autism is such a tricky thing. Each person shows different signs and different behaviors. A middle schooler is not going to be aware of that. I mean middle school is the toughest 2 years any kid goes through but throw in some type of difference and “BAM”, you have your fuel for the fire.

      I was flabbergasted by the comment of that one father and mother. They are truly ignorant and unfortunately whether you live in a small community or NYC (like the hick-hater), ignorance is ignorance. You get them all. And unfortunately, kids follow by example.

      That school board president is another one of the ignorant ones, too. Of course, he should be working with the superintendent and not dealing with this on his own.

      It always saddens me to see things like this since I have been through it. I, too had to deal with and uninformed principal when it came to my son and a school district that did not follow through properly.

      To this day I still have to work with my son on proper social queues and it will be that way for the rest of his life. The one person who commented that he should know what he is doing just doesn’t get how their minds are wired. Also, this principal was wrong and its up to the community to deal with it. Sounds like the majority needs to stand up, attend the next school board meeting and demand action. If they don’t, then run for the board, get rid of the ignorance and set the district in the right direction.

  • Joannie

    Bring it on himself? Seriously? No one deserves being bullied no matter how bad their actions are. And he has a disease. Then the one guy says he is glad his nephew cocked him in the mouth? Loser!!! You are a great example for your nephew!!! Let him think its right throughout his life! How dare you!

    • Jamie

      LOSER? sorry you feel that way.. if the incompetent reporter would have finished my comment it would have sounded better. if he is going to quote someone he needs to quote the whole post.. who is protecting the kids from levi and his antics? I want my nephew to have character and feel good about himself when he gets older, be a leader instead of a follower. YOU gotta stand up for yourself. as I said before this wasn’t an isolated incident, its happened before. the kids shouldn’t have to walk on egg shells around levi just waiting for him to go off. I sincerely feel sorry for him and he needs help he shouldn’t be in a community school. MD has some excellent teachers, im sure they are doing the best that they can dealing with it.. IM DONE WITH THIS, and am not apologizing for how I feel..

      • kriste h

        how can your nephew hope to ever have any character when the family raising him clearly has NONE? the fact that you think an appropriate response to being called a name is to hit someone says you have no business being involved in any child’s upbringing. you called him a poor kid… does that mean you deserve a punch to the face? according to your stupidity it sounds like deserve several, i’d guess.

        you should be ashamed of yourself and your nephew. my guess is you don’t even have enough character or values to even understand why.

        don’t breed. please.

      • SomeoneShouldSockYou

        And I’m not gonna apologize for calling you a cousin-molesting, brother banging redneck hillbilly. So there

  • Jack Turner

    I think it is time for Melcher families to vote people out of the school board and demand the incompetence in our schools faculty be removed as well. People want to place blame everywhere, but where it belongs. I for one hope this brings to light all the shortcomings of this school district and things finally get changed.

  • Jim Riddle

    Aaron,
    This is a dangerous situation and I would appreciate your continuing to report. The responses saying everyone thought he could control it and so on, to me, prove discrimination based on ignorance and if they actually hit this young man it is time for Federal intervention under the ADA. Everyone who has hit him for sure, and probably the video participants and the taunting, are not merely guilty of bullying, chagrin on its own, but criminal assault of a disabled person and blatant harassment based on disability. If any of this ridiculous behavior happened at a business, the perpetrators would be fire under one-strike policies.

    It is NOT the fault of Levi nor is it due to his parents. The jerkwad principal is perhaps as guilty as anyone, and all the offenders, teachers, principal and schoolboard, should have their butts in a sling and the shirts sued off their back as far as I am concerned.

  • lifelong md resident

    the video was wrong and i would say that was bullying, but whos responsiblity is it to protect our kids out side of school when he is out with no parental supervision? He also is a bully, my child should not have to take name calling, rock throwing etc from this child when he is an innocent bystander…… I understand this child has a illness but on a saturday afternoon my child should not have to be subject to this behavior at the park or anywhere else. Any other child should be able to walk from school and home without being taunted by Levi… So I would say some parental control should also be a huge part of this situation.

    • krislankay

      I agree. There needs to be actions on both sides. Levi’s mother knows he has a disease, and that his actions are unpredictable. Why would you allow your special needs child, who is prone to violence, roam the neighborhood alone? On the other hand, it’s pretty easy to spot a child that has a disorder like Aspergers. Other children in the community need to maintain self control, as well. Two wrongs do not make a right. This is a sad situation, but I honestly feel the mother of Levi could do more to protect both him and the children in the community. Just because her child has a disorder, doesn’t mean that everyone should conform to his way of thinking. Fault lies on both sides…

  • Big Hugs

    Okay, enough. I have sat back for the last two days and let the name calling and bashing go on and on. Children deserve to be protected, children deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. There has been none of that in regards to this story.
    We have the advocates for Levi and others with Asperger’s. We have advocates for the children who have suffered at his hands. We have those who are out for the principal’s head on a platter.
    Why is it that the students at Melcher-Dallas, and every other school, shouldn’t be expected to drive the change and stop the bullying or bully-like behavior? Is it the teacher/principal who stands up and says “Look at what’s wrong with this kid? Today, we are going to attack him/her for their differences.” I hope not. It is the children, who are influenced by those at home and the students around them. They make the decision to let the cruelty spew out of their mouths and their actions. Parents and caregivers make the decision to let the cruelty spew out of their mouths and their actions.
    This is not solely Dawn’s fault, or Levi’s fault, or the child with the camera’s fault, the substitute teacher’s fault, or the parent’s fault or Josh Ehn’s fault. It falls on our community – our local, state, national and world community.
    We fail to love our neighbors when we lack the intellectual capacity or the emotional capacity to understand kindness and compassion. We fail to think before we speak. We fail to understand our actions.
    I look at my preschool-aged children. Their world is filled with love, kindness and compassion. Their ignorance of the challenges of the life ahead of them truely is bliss. Everyone loves them and, therefore, they love everyone. I look at my teenage daughter. She is fighting life’s challenges and unfairness head-on. It is my job as her parent to speak with her about how she impacts everyone she encounters everyday. It is my job to help her see that how she speaks to her peers, her teachers, her parents and her siblings can make such a big difference in someone’s day and ultimately their perception of themselves.
    I am a conservative Christian – no way around that one. I am not a perfect conservative or a perfect Christian – no way around that one either. I fall into these traps – being unkind, not thinking before I speak/post, not considering my actions until it is too late. I am in no way a fan of Hillary Clinton. Okay, maybe one way. Folks, it does take a community to raise a child. That does not mean that I want you to be a parent to my kids. That does not mean that I want you to pay for their lunch or take care of them in any other way because I fail to as a parent. That means that it is my job to raise my children to be the best that they can be. To teach them love and forgiveness and to encourage them to share that message with others. They are going to fail from time to time. I would be naive, and quite frankly dumb, to believe that they will always be right and that every action will make me proud. We can, however, use those failures to learn a lesson and make a gesture of amendment. Don’t forget to use your own failures as a learning lesson, too.
    Josh Ehn and Bob Lepley have somethings right. It starts with the kids. The school needs to be there to educate and encourage the appropriate behavior and, likewise, discipline. I don’t want a zero tolerance policy for bullying at Melcher-Dallas. Per the state definition of bullying, it is based on somethine perceived by another. Their can be no fairness in that – not for everyone involved, ever. Based on that definition, you are all correct (cringe here). It is time for the teachers, coaches, mentors, students and staff, and parents, to step up. It is a parent’s responsibility to teach and guide and LEAD BY EXAMPLE. It is the school’s responsibility to teach and guide and LEAD BY EXAMPLE. We have to work toward a common goal – hard work is never easy. And maybe it isn’t that we need to step up, maybe it is time that we stop and recognize what we are doing well and what we can do better. Instead of demeaning each other, we can promote the progress being made and bring ideas to the table instead of demands and bad behavior.
    Kindness begets kindness. Cruelty begets cruelty. Understanding goes a long way. Stop. And think.
    The great thing that came out of this unfortunate event, is a renewed awareness of a world-wide problem. Effective communication and knowledge will bring about the needed change and justice that will be worthwhile and satisfying to all. BTW, that doesn’t involve expulsion or lost jobs, anyone leaving the school or moving from the community. It does involve real change. And guess what? That is going to hurt and be difficult. We are strong enough to handle it, together.
    Big hugs, all. Smile, because on this fine, dreary, cold, wet (but, thankfully not snowy) Tuesday morning in Iowa, you have decided to make it better.
    God bless.

      • Slippery Slope - Hence, another Bully.

        Hey,everyone. If all you got out of that post was that it is Wednesday and not Tuesday, read the post again. They may be talking to you. Don’t belittle for one mistake,when there was so much more good to point out.

      • Big Hugs

        Sorry. :) I took some time to think about what I needed to say and I forgot to change that little detail. Please forgive my imperfection. I know you see the bigger point I was trying to make.

  • be positive

    Channel 13 has done an inservice to Melcher-Dallas AND to Levi and Dawn by sensationalizing this situation. They have taken words out of context from a very competent high school principal. They have taken the most dramatic statements made by community members that were made only after the situation was so heated up that they felt personally attacked.

    There is not a single teacher or administrator at Melcher-Dallas who will tolerate bullying if they see it. This situation was handled, and from what I hear, students were punished according to district and state laws. This was never mentioned by Channel 13. That is the reason the feathers were ruffled and people started to personally attack Dawn and Levi. Attacking a student with or without disabilities is wrong. End of story. But when incompetent reporters seek to stir trouble through lopsided reporting, people will tend to lash out and this is what has happened in this case. Now I don’t blame Levi for being scared but he can thank Channel 13 and poor reporting for surfing things that will continue to hurt and haunt this child.

    The situation was handled and Dawn wanted to bring out awareness. Channel 13 you missed your chance for responsible reporting and instead you have caused nothing but problems for everyone.

    • Pam

      There is never any justification for attacking a disabled child. And for any adult to defend it, or lack the compassion to come to his aid is just sick. I hope karma hits you hard.

  • Harry Moyer

    Doesn’t shock me at all coming out of a backwater town like Melcher-Dallas. This town is the perennial hick/racist/hillbilly community. Most are about as ignorant as they come. I grew up visiting that town and area for 30 years, (as about a 10% of the inbred fidiots are my relation), and I know of what I speak.
    These are your typical TeaBuggers that don’t have the knowledge to know what Asperger’s even is. If it isn’t in the Bible or spoke of on FauxNews/WND/etc., it’s nothing but a liberal conspiracy propagated by the 2! false elections of a black President.

  • Wayne

    It’s not bullying to them, its a way or life style. Melcher is no different than any other Iowa town. People bully in many ways and it’s accepted behavior. In fact if someone doesn’t do something or follow what others are doing, we in fact bully them. In years past it was called peer pressure. It’s learned behavior and it’s not going to stop no matter what we say on a comment page unless those doing the bullying/pressure change their own attitudes about others and actualy care about people we don’t know. Who takes the time to find out why someone did what they did? Just call them a jerk and move on, it’s a way to justify our own actions. If anyone of us were called a geek or jerk or any other name multiple times a day by different people, does that make it true? In our world today, it does. We only look out for ourselves and “ours” and the heck with the rest of them. We teach our kids and our friends kids just by doing. If you don’t like what’s going on in our communities know just wait, it will get worse!

  • HW

    It breaks my heart what this young boy is going through but I by far do NOT blame Melcher Dallas School or the principal. I drive my daughter 25 minutes out of my way everysingle day (to and from) so she can go to Melcher Dallas Schools (not convenient let me tell you) I do this because the previous school she went to was very bad on bullying and I actually received a call one day from the principal of this formal school telling me my kid was suicidal and a teacher had found her in the art room cutitng her self. They expelled her from school because they said she stole the protractor from the art room (in which she was using to cut herself with) and they sent her home on the school bus (even though she was suicidal?!) We have had a lot of luck at the Melcher Dallas school, the teachers AND the principal are amazing and really care about their students. Trust me if this wasn’t the case I would not drive her back and forth the opposite way I go to work! I feel safe with her there and she is 100% happier.

    The situation on this young boy is very sad and the young people that bullied him are possibly troubled as well. Lets see what we can do to help everyone out in this sitatuion, lets not make things worse for the boy and this amazing school district.

  • MeMe (@XxxBizz)

    It sound’s like everyone down there are a bunch of hick’s, moron’s and pathetic. Glad my kid’s are nowhere near this town and school system or else they could end up in a hospital or dead because of the other kids AND adults.

    This town sounds disgusting!! (and I’ve heard from other people that LIVE there not just CH 13 and their so called “lopsided” reporting)

  • totally floored by chan. 13

    after seeing everything on the news and reading all the comments, i feel like most of you have no real clue as to what is really happening and just want to be upset about something. there are many things that most of you need to realize:
    1) the news only puts out what they want you to see and hear. they edit it to fit their own needs and for this reaction so they can continue their story in the future and get more viewers.
    2) comments get edited and therefore taken out of context. just like in reality shows, they make it so you will view a person the way they want you too. the principal in no way feels the kids have to take care of the problem, he said they need to be responsible and not bully others..but that was taken out of context.
    3) i know plenty of kids with autism and Aspergers of different severities that know right from wrong…so you can’t tell me this child doesn’t know that some of the things he says and does are wrong.
    4) not all children of that age level know what this disability really is about, so when they get attacked either verbally or physically by this child, their only natural reaction is to fight back. wrong or right it’s a way of life. most people aren’t going to sit back and let someone attack them.
    5) to base what an entire town is like (if you are an outsider) based only on the interview of a select few is ignorant. it’s no different than if you had a drug user in your family and just assume that the entire family is on drug because that one person does. you shouldn’t judge others without first knowing them.
    6) to say the staff and faculty don’t care about this is totally absurd. kids are going to do things while people aren’t looking and away from others. once in while it will happen in class and i would like to think it is taken care of. employees can’t hold the students’ hand all day to ensure they don’t do anything wrong. that is something that needs to be taught at home starting at a very young age. also, if a student doesn’t report it or tell all the details it’s hard to get to the bottom of it.
    7) i feel that channel 13 needs to go to every single school and do a similar story so that every town will go through this same thing…since bullying happens at every school in every town and in every state. to some degree it happens everywhere.

    • Jess

      Re: #4: SO TEACH THEM. Good Lord, they don’t know the quadratic equation either but we send them to school for six hours a day to LEARN.

      • totally floored by chan. 13

        which should start at home…which is what the principal was saying, but of course his words got taken out of context.
        the school can only do so much…parents have to take some part in the education of a child, but many are “too busy” or just don’t care. it’s sad actually that people have kids and don’t feel the need to raise them to be respectful and polite.

  • PHillMom

    I myself am from Melcher-Dallas and I have thought many times about the possibility of moving back there and raising my children there. Growing up there it was always a safe and seemingly tight community where everyone knew everyone and I was proud to be from a place where I could walk down the street after dark and I knew that if I did anything wrong my parents would know the next day because people cared enoughto not turn the other way. On any account it was SO wrong for the post to be put out there in the first place by the other kids – and for the town to be lashing out at each other like this makes me very glad that I am not raising my children there any more. My daughter has severe ADHD and has her moments and I have no doubt that she would run into this type of “bullying” and negativity if we were there. I always thought being in a small school system she would thrive more but after seeing this story and seeing the way the people of Melcher are assuming no responsibility other than placing blame on a child with a disease that he is unable to control makes me see that unfortunately that may not be the case. I am sorry to the family of Levi that they are having to tolerate the closed minds of the people of Melcher-Dallas – the town was not that way 30 years ago – we had people with special needs in our school and we embraced them as individuals and human beings and I assure you we did not humiliate them publicly OR privately – we were better back then – society as a whole was better back then – where people weren’t sue-happy and actually took responsibility for themselves, their families and their communities. I WAS proud to be an MD Saint, I’m not sure that I still am after seeing this type of behavior existing…

    • Big Hugs

      PHillMom, the town has not changed for many years. I assure you that not everyone has been embraced in the past 30-60 years. Tell me that Dave and Jim Legg are not harrassed and laughed at everyday. They graduated in the 70s. Doesn’t make any of it okay, just saying, it’s not different. We are different and the difference that we are running into is the forum we use to discuss it has changed. Instead of meeting at the COOP (though they still do) or the restaurant (though they still are) to discuss what needs to change, it is being spewed for all to read with no face to face interaction and no consideration for emotion. You are not getting all of Melcher-Dallas’s finest in all of these posts. But they are passionate about the way they feel. Those outside of the community don’t have an emotional connection and just find it entertaining to poke fun at people who are not important to them. I feel fortunate to not have the mindset to spew my nastiness when it is another community being lashed. My family (perhaps it is yours too – since I have a couple cousins living in the Pleasant Hill area and raising their children there) has been in the MD area since prohibition and longer (that’s right, we came from something bigger than ALL of Iowa and weren’t always proud and capable of making a living with our hands on the land that God created. I attended three different schools in Iowa – Algona, Prairie City-Monroe and Melcher-Dallas (just admitted who I am). All very different communities with different cultures and make-ups. None of this is unique to Melcher-Dallas. If your child is still young, they are feeling the love of their peers and a teacher along the way who taught them the characteristics of ADHD and how to deal with it or are more capable of dealing with it because the problem is running rampant. Things change with age. How many of us would have been having this conversation when we were in high school, in junior high, or elementary? We change as we experience life and we behave differently.
      Don’t give up on this community. It is still a bedroom community that still houses the Dhabalts, the Binghams, the Andersons, the Hyatts, the Beckers, the Rippergers, the Verwers, the Blubaughs, the Bowers, the Schraders, the Souths, the Luscris, etc., and many new names that have decided to call this community home after having already experienced life outside of MD.
      We’re not perfect, but I am going to guess that most communities, big and small, hick, backwoods, bare-footed, imbred and just plain stupid, aren’t either. Be careful the names you call and hate you spread, everyone, you just might be talking about your boss’s family. Oh yeah, we’re out there, and funny how we still come HOME.

      • KDS

        If all you down there in TX KNOW THAT THIS BOY HAS INVOLUNTRY MOVEMENTS, THEN DEAL WITH IT!! HE CAN NOT HELP IT. Doesn’t mean you need to get in his face. Then stay away from him. Just because someone says or does something I don’t like, doesn’t give me the right to beat them up. I just walk away. GROW UP and teach your kids to be tolerant or just Friggin’ ignore them!! THERE IS NEVER A GOOD REASON FOR BULLYING. Bullies are BIG cowards!! The parents who justify this are just as IGNORANT!!!

  • Saints13

    Harry Moyer,

    Your post is the definition of bullying and stereotyping. I think that rather than posting such ridiculous comments you should do some research on “bullying” first. If you had, you would realize you have done just that to the Melcher-Dallas community. inbred? fidiots? TeaBuggers? hillbilly? hick? Wow, you’re not a bully at all, huh? Think (and then maybe think again) before you type.

    • Harry Moyer

      I think you need to look up the definition yourself. By your standards, YOU are now a bully because YOU called ME a bully.
      I stand by my previous comments. I’m not speaking as an “outsider”. When you are related to a tenth of a town and grew-up visiting and sometimes living there in the summer for 30 years; I figure I know more than the majority that have just moved there to get out of the city.

  • be positive

    People, it’s all what you make it. Move to a small town or move away if you don’t have anything good to say about it..no one cares. Bloom where you are planted. Be the change you want to see. A town is only as good as the people there who are willing to work to make it better. Those who sit around and whine are not helping anyone. If you cant support positive change in your community then stop talking and disappear into a big city where no one likes you and no one cares what your opinion is. I do not believe anyone is condoning bullying. There are a few people trying to say, “Our kids are not all bullies…they are responding as kids do…sometimes inappropriately…just like Levi…they are kids…let’s be parents and teach them a better way.” Placing blame on the school or the ‘entire community’ gets you off the hook as a human being. If this is what you want, stay away from small town Iowa where people are passionate our kids and our schools.

  • Fair treatment for ALL kids

    I’m sorry, I realize there are challenges to raising a ‘special needs’ child. Guess what, there are challenges to raising ANY child.
    I am so very tired of people using behavior/learning disorders as excuses. ‘oh, wait, it’s ok for this child to throw rocks and call names, we need to be tolerant, he has a disease’. Where does that stop? Do we let pedophiles prey on children because they have a disease? It’s not their fault, we need to be tolerant, they see things differently than the rest of the world. Society has rules that are there for all, not just some.
    My child was attacked by an autistic child. She now has permanent scarring on her face from being bitten and clawed. The other child was not expelled, was not disciplined in any way….she’s autistic and can’t help herself! besides, she hadn’t hurt anyone in ‘awhile’. What did my child do wrong….stood too close to the other child…she has space issues. Then she shouldn’t be in public school. she is a danger to all those around her. If my ‘normal’ child had done that same thing, she would have been expelled and we’d probably be fighting a lawsuit. Instead, WE are facing large medical bills, my child has been laughed at for her scars and we had to switch schools because she was terrified to go back!!
    And as far as hitting back, you better believe I would encourage my child to do it. I have a daughter so that isn’t usually as big of a deal. however, one of her friends was being picked on all the time. His things were taken out of his locker and destroyed, he was physically picked on. At first, he was encouraged to let the teacher know and try to keep his things locked up when he could. He had to go to extra effort to keep his things put away at all times, and was picked on worse for being a tattle tell. His parents finally told him he could hit back. he COULD NOT start a fight, he could end it. He didn’t hit the bully, but, did push him and knock him down. Guess what, no more bullying!
    I believe that children with behavioral and learning disorders should be mainstreamed where reasonable. If they cannot understand, or follow, the rules, they shouldn’t be there. How is it fair to put all of the other children in a school in danger in order to give one child a ‘fair and equal’ learning opportunity? My ‘normal’ child is just as special and important as your ‘special needs’ child. She also has the right to a safe learning environment.

    • Lisa Cheney Long

      I am willing to bet that if you would research history between the NT children and the ASD child you would find that there is a history of this child being bullied/picked on by these very children. I am willing to bet that the ASD child has experienced some not so nice interactions and with them. I can say from experience that a child on the spectrum usually is not a vindictive, dishonest, intimidating kind of person. They see life only in black and white, they learn from their environment, they have extreme social deficits and sensory issues. How can anyone one blame a child for anything that is not in their control??? Protect all the other children??? Crazy!!! With all that has been explained so far I see no reason to protect these NT children, they seem to be able to understand and protect themselves, obviously.

      • Fair Treatment for ALL kids

        Ok, I’m not sure what an NT child is. I assume ASD refers to the Autism spectrum. If you read my post, MY daughter was attacked by an autistic child FOR STANDING TOO CLOSE TO HER! She was NOT bullying her!! I don’t have to ‘research the history’ between the two children, I lived it! The two girls had never really had any contact before, good or bad. My child was pretty new to the class. Besides, if autistic children are not vindictive, it shouldn’t matter if this girl had been picked on, right, she would just ‘turn the other cheek’.
        As far as my use of the word ‘normal’ is concerned, I’m sorry if that offends. Should my child be referred to as ‘not-on-the-autism-ADD-ADHD-spectrum’ or ‘one who doesn’t have any known behavioral or leaning disabilities’? What is politically correct? I used the word ‘normal’ to refer to those kids NOT diagnosed with a behavioral issue.
        ANY child that is violent on a repeat basis needs to be dealt with and disciplined. If that child cannot understand that the violence is wrong, for whatever reason, they need to not be in a situation where the violence is likely to occur. My daughter was 6 when she was attacked. Do you mean to tell me that the attacker should not be expected to know that biting and clawing, out of the blue, is wrong, but, my child should know that ‘well, it’s ok if THIS child bites you, claws you, chases you with scissors, she can’t help it…YOU better NEVER act like that though’.
        So, tell me LIsa, why does my child deserve to be injured, and humiliated because another child is autistic? After the attack, we explained to our daughter that she shouldn’t be mad at this other child. We told her the other child didn’t always think like she did, she was frightened and simply reacted. Probably not politically correct, but, it was a way that a 6 year old could understand and not create resentment. My child was still terrified by the thought that if this other child could attack her once for standing someplace the other child didn’t think she should be, what would cause the attack next time….the color of her dress, the ribbon in her hair?
        Explain to me what I could have done differently to keep my 6 year old from being hurt?? We didn’t even know the other child was autistic. When you put your child into a first grade class room, the teacher doesn’t go through and tell you about every child ‘Billy picks his nose, Susie is autistic and has space issues, Johnny likes red’. So….we couldn’t have explained to our child that the rules didn’t apply to ‘Susie’ even if we had wanted to. I want you to tell me what we could have done. And don’t you DARE blame my child for being attacked!! After the attack, other parents came to me with similar stories. The attacker was the problem. Blaming my child is no different than blaming a child for being the victim of a pedophile

    • Lisa Cheney Long

      Your normal? May I ask who left you in charge of deciding what is normal or not? Fair treatment? Do you realize the abuse that many children on the spectrum receive? All because they are different and do not express it to anyone.

      • Fair Treatment for ALL kids

        Oh, and LIsa, you can’t have it both ways. You are irritated at me for using the word ‘normal’ to describe my child. If you want the child that has a behavior issue to be considered ‘normal’, then they need to be able to live by the same societal standards as everyone else. You can’t stand up and say ‘This child reacts differently, so, the rules don’t apply’ Then in the next breath want that same child to be treated just like everyone else. Make up your mind. Am I supposed to treat that child differently (allow them to throw rocks, name call, etc) because of their autism, or am I not to treat them differently? Or, do you get to pick and choose how I, and everyone else, is expected to treat that child at each moment?

      • Fair treatment for ALL kids

        Hey Jess, we DID report the incident. The school’s attitude was ‘huh, THAT hasn’t happened in awhile Your child was standing to close to X, X got uncomfortabler’. Even the school agreed my child had done nothing wrong. however, because of medical privacy, they couldn’t/wouldn’t discuss with anyone that ‘x’ was made uncomfortable by close proximity due to their autism. and apparently, when made uncomfortable by something. ‘X’ responded with violence. I suppose she considered it self defense.

        Considering the school refused to inform the other parents of this dangerous child in the classroom, what would you have had us do?
        Oh, wait, ‘report the incident’. Right. The teacher’s saw it. They obviously noticed my child with a bloody face. The incident happened in the class room. Plus, that is AFTER THE FACT! Why can’t something be done to prevent the injury before it happens?? X had attacked before, the school was aware. It was an accepted part of her personality. After all, we can’t discuss the fact that she is ASD.

        The child who has the unpredictable, violent outbursts probably needs to be in a different class room setting where she will not get frightened or over stimulated or whatever it is that causes her to lash out uncontrollably.
        Everyone gets all freaked out about ‘not mainstreaming’ SOME of these kids. Then we are bad for trying to deny the ASD child an education. You know what, if an NT child is violent, they are also removed from the regular classroom. NO child, understand me, NO CHILD, NT or ASD deserves to be hurt at school just so that one child, who is hurting others’, doesn’t have to be left out.

        When I say ‘don’t mainstream’, I don’t mean put them in a corner. But what is wrong with working with them in smaller groups until they are more comfortable in a classroom of 25? Good lord, if a child is having learning issues, people jump all over the school to get those children extra help. It isn’t ostracizing the child, it is meeting their needs which happen to be different than the majority of the other children. One size does not fit all.

        My child, yes, ‘average’, less-intelligent-than-an-ASD NT child, just so happens to be extremely intelligent. the school pulls her out for individual work every day. She NEEDS the EXTRA stimulation. Personally, I have a great amount of gratitude to the school for seeing my child’s special needs and addressing them. how is that different than taking an over stimulated ASD child out of the large class room, even if it is just for part of the day, to work with them in a smaller, quieter environment. Maybe you have a couple of the kids that child is comfortable with there to keep them in a group setting, but, 5 kids, not 25.
        Jeepers, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Again, saying maybe the regular classroom doesn’t work for SOME of these kids does not mean, chain them in a closet for the day.

        Oh yes, and because the public school couldn’t, or wouldn’t, provide a safe environment for my NT child, we pay to send her to a private school.

  • Rebecca

    Wow! I think it’s interesting that we have adults on here name calling and bullying each other on a story on bullying… People need to set the example for their children no matter how they feel about this story. I don’t know what to believe on this story. But, I will say any child that is violent (verbally or physically) does need to have adult intervention. You can not hide behind “he has this problem” or “he was provoked in this way”. What will these parents do when their children are adults? Excuses won’t work. If you teach your child violence is an acceptable reaction, or an acceptable form of expression, your child will end up on the wrong end of the legal system. Or, even worse if they pick a fight with the wrong person.

      • Rebecca

        Actually, as someone in an almost decade long relationship with someone diagnosed with autism… I am quite educated. And, I can tell you that if he became violent towards me or anyone else he would end up in jail. So… yeah.. It is an excuse. His mother just chose not to accept it as one, and society won’t either.

    • lifelong md resident

      i think this is a huge conern of the community.. not only whats happening at school but on the child/parents time. People are concerned for the safety of their children when this child is unsupervised, and any good parent should be

  • JB

    My son has Asperger’s and we have taught him to be nice to others. There is no excuse for bad behavior. He still gets bullied for being “weird” but he knows better than to treat others that way. Aspergers is a challenge, not an excuse. That being said, there is no reason whatsoever for anyone to treat people poorly, no one brings it on themselves and it sounds like the school system has some things to address with ALL of their students and parents.

  • Quiet Contemplation

    There is no excuse for posting a video online of a person that depicts their disability in a way that is intended to humiliate them. That is the very definition of bullying.

    There are all sorts of probelm solving avenues the school could take to help this child learn better social skills, and to protect him from kids that don’t understand his differences.

    This is NOT about knowing right from wrong, who has the right to be mean, and who doesn’t. Asperger’s is by definition a social disorder. If the boy is behaving in ways that are not socially appropriate then the school MUST address that with special ed services. He needs to be taught the correct way to behave, and the ‘typical’ kids need to be taught how to interact with kids/people who are different than them. If Levi’s environment was supportive, and he had the skills things would look different. Kids do the best with what they have. All of them, and so far the adults in this situation is failing all these kids. They’re not teaching Levi the best way to handle mean people, and to make friends, and they’re not teaching the typical kids how to live in a world with people that are different than they are.

    I am curious as to whether he has an IEP, and if he gets any social skills therpay, as well as if there is any supports for staff listed in it. I had to get some of that added to my son’s IEP to really force the school to deal with his differences in a productive way. It was a long road, but we’re finally getting there. I wish Levi, and his family luck!

    • Big Hugs

      But I have seen many IEPs that end up being a disservice to those involved. How do you know you have a good plan?

  • Noah Short

    I think the staff here at the news station needs to get views from the entire community, not people who build there opinion of a what they’ve seen on the television, before they jump to even more radical opinions about the Melcher-Dallas. I’m relatively new here and the entire community has been nice to me.

  • Sharon Merryman

    I think a whole lot of you need to get educated on Autism!!! All autistic children have varying traits. If an autistic child feels like his or hers space is being invade because someone is standing too close to them, they will push… it’s not intended to be bullying. I have a 6 yr old Asperger child…. he does not like his space invaded, but at the same time, it is also up to us parents to make sure that he/she understands, that pushing at someone is wrong and is considered to be bullying, to ask then nicely to move over. Also, school teachers should know and understand Asperger Syndrome and other autistic…. and should be teaching in class (not all the time) about the difference of other children. To say that this child should not go to mainstream school is wrong. They deserve a good education just like the rest of the kids do. Just because they may have issues with some things, doesn’t make them stupid. In fact, nearly all Autistic children are way smarter then your average child. They just learn different. But all the comments I’ve been reading are mean and they are bullying. you have no idea what it is to have an autistic child and have to deal with the daily meltdowns or issues that may arise. Good luck to Levi and his family…. As much as I hate to say it, it might be a wise idea to move to a different town, where people are so backwards and ignorant in their thinking.

    • Fair Treatment for ALL kids

      Sharon, I feel for you and your challenges as the mother of an ausperger’s child. I also commend you for the fact that you realize that your child has a responsibility to deal with their issues too. I am, in no way shape or form, saying that my ‘average’ child has more of a right to an education then your ‘special needs’ child. I am saying that my ‘average’ child (who I feel is very special, and love very much, even if she is just ‘average’, not a genius and not autistic) deserves to be safe in their school JUST LIKE YOU WANT YOURS TO BE! Perhaps, if the school, or the parents, or SOMEONE had taken your attitude with the child that attacked my daughter, that attack would not have happened. That child would have realized that my daughter was not trying to make her feel uncomfortable, she simply didn’t realize she was standing too close.

  • Leah

    I have a son with Asperger’s. I have so much running through my mind right now I can’t even respond. What I will say is that while it isn’t an excuse for behavior, it is certainly a reason. And once we can identify reasons behind behaviors, we can address them. People, really, you have to understand that NO TWO PEOPLE WITH ASPERGER’S IS ALIKE! Quit basing your responses to this child based on what you know of others! It’s like saying all blonde people react the same way. And the arguments about special needs kids getting preferential treatment? Give me a freaking break! One of my sons has AS and the other does not, and I can tell you for a fact, there IS a difference in the challenges facing raising these kids. So don’t kid yourself on that one — you have no idea what you are talking about! I am sorry about what happened to your daughter, but you can in no way blame the entire special needs population for that one any more than I can say perhaps you weren’t the advocate you needed to be for your daughter so that she didn’t get hurt. This town is displaying an amazing sense of ignorance about Asperger’s. They need to educate themselves or crawl under a rock and have no human interaction at all. As for this “Jamie” person, all I can say is pathetic. Absolutely our children need to learn to defend themselves and stand up for themselves. But physically hurting another person is rarely, if ever, the way to do it. I tell my sons all the time… sometimes standing up for yourself is simply walking away. Many times it is showing the other person compassion when you think they don’t deserve it. Remember — the people (especially kids) who act out the most are the ones who need the most love.

    • Leah

      P.S. Most people with Asperger’s have genius IQ levels, so stop with the “removing them from mainstream schools” nonsense. Your children will probably work for an Aspie someday.

      • Fair Treatment for ALL kids

        I see everyone is jumping on me because I don’t think this violent child that attacked my daughter should be allowed to randomly attack other children. No one seems to have an answer for me though…..what could I have done? We did NOT know this child had issues. Due to privacy regulations, I was told by the school, they cannot discuss the other child’s autism with us unless the parents approve it. We had NO WARNING that this other child had any issues. We were new to the school district.
        Because everyone looked the other way every time the autistic child attacked and said ‘well, that’s just suzie’, my child is permanently scarred, physically and emotionally.
        She didn’t deserve it. She HAD DONE NOTHING wrong to this other child. There are no consequences for the other child. What is THAT teaching our children?
        If a ‘child without a diagnosed learning or behavioral disability’ is repeatedly violent, or disruptive, they are removed from the classroom.
        They are no longer ‘mainstreamed’. Ever hear of Woodward Academy? It is for students who have had issues in the ‘mainstream’ schools. Kids get expelled for violence. Why are there 2 sets of rules? Why is violence accepted from one group of children but not the other? Shouldn’t a GENIUS know that biting is wrong? Throwing rocks at a person is wrong? Why does my kid have to bend over backwards to accept your kids differences, but, your kid has no responsibility?

      • Mom of an 'average' kid

        So, Leah, your ‘genius’ is smarter than my ‘average’ child? (apparently it’s ok to generalize if you have an autistic child, not ok if you don’t). But anyway….your genius may not know the proper reaction to a social situation (throwing rocks at people is not considered ok), BUT, my AVERAGE child is supposed to not only know that throwing rocks is bad, BUT also understand that your genius can’t help the fact that they don’t know throwing rocks is bad so we have to just do our best to not get hit?!?! Interesting point of view. Very convenient for you too. My kid is darned if he does wrong, and darned if YOUR kid does wrong!

    • Fair Treatment for ALL kids

      Also, I am NOT saying that ALL people with autism are this way or that way. By your own argument, they are all different. Therefore, there may be some that cannot handle being in a mainstream school. If a person is sensitive to stimulation, perhaps the wall-to-wall people, or the noise and generally ‘busyness’ of a public school could be too much for them. If you’ve ever seen the halls of a lot of public schools during passing between classes, it would be impossible to maintain a ‘safe distance’ from a kid with space issues. Kids are elbow to elbow, and it is loud, The cafeteria is loud. Gym class is loud and rambunctious and kids are close to each other.
      We put our child in a private school after she was attacked. Seems wrong that I am paying for both public school and private school, I am transporting my child to and from school, when a school bus for the school she SHOULD be in goes past my door. And I am doing all of this not because I just wanted to, but, because the rules within the school are only for certain children.

  • lifelong md resident

    fair treatment for all kids,
    i agree with you and I think this is a point the community is trying to get accross to people, when this child is unsupervised he throws rocks at cars driving by and is mean to other kids, this is the parents place to control whien its in the neighborhood not the schools.

  • Ashley

    He definitely doesn’t belong in the community school if he is calling other kids names and what not. Whether it’s a condition or not, other kids shouldn’t have to suffer being called names because, of Levi’s condition. Kids this young aren’t going to understand this condition. NOW on another note, there is a difference in defending yourself and hitting someone. Levi called a kid a name (supposedly) and that kid hit him back for that… interesting.. It would only be defense if Levi was causing physical harm but, he wasn’t. Your nephew (Jamie Harrison) took it to another level and that is where you are wrong. You are promoting violence when violence wasn’t there top begin with. Levi’s parents should have been notified if there was an issue with him calling names or what not but, these kids are taking it into their own hands by “hitting him where it hurts”, bringing to light a condition that he cannot change or help! All of you parents in this situation need to wake up and realize where you are in the wrong as a parent to think anyone in this situation was in the right. SICK!

    • Slippery Slope.

      My daughter, who is normal and one of the more compassionate to kids who are picked on and bullied, called someone a nasty name (because they were being nasty, but that’s irrelevant). Perhaps she has a condition, perhaps she doesn’t. From what you just said, my nearly straight-A (one A-), talented, kind, “normal, typical”, non-condition kid should be removed from the school? A healthy, contributing member of society who sometimes gets sick of hearing non-sense and hatred and takes a stand should be removed from the school? Because other kids shouldn’t have to suffer being called names?? Violence is not the only type of bullying. The fact here remains that, justified behavior or not, based on his special needs or not, a child was humiliated and his sister decided it was crap and took a stand. WHO chose to make it more than that. And so many here have decided to make it more than a single incident problem.

    • proud md resident

      Jamie Harrison I am proud of you for wanting your nephew to stand up for him self. I was personally in the park that day that your nephew hit levi for calling him a P***Y. Levi was taunting all the kids up in the park that day. He call another kid a f****n N**ger, your nephew and a friend of his wanted to talk to levi about calling others names, and try to tell him to stop, and levi was on his bike and tryed to run your nephew over with his bike and your nephew picked up the bike tire and moved it so it wouldnt hit him and levi said, “oh is that the way its gunna be you P***Y. ” Hell ya i would have hit him also. Name calling is bullying in my book. And as far as the parents of your nephew, they are great people, they teach their kids to stand up for themselves in situations like this. Levi is a bully, he taunts people everyday and other students every day. Im sorry he has this disability but he is old enough to know right from wrong if not his parents should have taught him this. I have talked to my kids about this, they do go to MD. This school is like any other school, bullying is in every school and every town. Everyone needs to know exactly what bullying is before they judge and teach their children it is wrong but when a kid is pushed so far, he can only take so much. and adults are the same way. why do you think there is so much voilence in the world.
      The school is doing everything they can to stop the bullying but the kids are old enough to know what they are doing to each other. Hell adults still bully other adults.
      And it was really great that a few kids apologized to levi for bullying him, but has levi apologized to the kids that he as bullied. I doubt it.

      • Use Your Head

        And what where you doing, as an adult that was present? Standing there watching? It is never okay to hit someone unless you are defending yourself against injury or death. All those kids had to do was walk away, and tell someone. You, as an adult, should have either stepped in or reported it to Levi’s mother. Encouraging children to hit others in the name of “standing up for themselves” is nothing but raising animals.

      • Chuck

        If you were there and saw Levi bullying others, why didn’t you attempt to stop it, or at least notify someone who could help? Yeah, I call bullsh**.

      • not sure I would jump in

        Hey Chuck and Use Your Head – sometimes it is a bad idea for an adult who has no relationship to the children involved to jump into a disagreement. Could be physically dangerous for the adult from the children. As an older woman, there is no way that I am going to jump into the fray between a bunch of teenage boys that I don’t know personally. Lots of young people out there that don’t have any respect for adults and wouldn’t think twice about hitting me, smashing my windshield, etc. Could call the police I guess and have them all get in trouble with the law. Or could wait and see if they are able to resolve it on their own the way we all hope our kids will learn to do.

        and no, I would not stand there and watch a bunch of kids beat up another kid or anything like that, I would call the police then. But, for one kid throwing one punch, Let them sort it out…I am assuming here that the adult did not know that Levi was autistic.

      • not sure I would jump in

        oh, and Chuck, who would you notify that could help?? People have said that they tried to talk to Levi’s mother about some issues with Levi bullying their child and they were yelled at.
        Plus, maybe that adult knew who the child was, but, didn’t necessarily know that child’s parents. Most people aren’t in the phone book anymore, so, even if you know his last name, you can’t look him up in the phone book. I believe Levi and his mom have different last names too so even knowing Levi’s last name wouldn’t help me find his mom. So, now you want me to call the police about a kid throwing rocks?

  • mamabulldog

    Some of the people posting here should go read the comments from the original story – it may be eye-opening. There are many incidents of Levi’s violent and abusive behavior addressed there and his mother confirms them in her many comments. Clearly, from mom’s comments, they know he is abusive and violent to other children. This simply isn’t a case of some sweet, innocent disabled child being picked on as WHO would lead you to believe and the reporting here sounds very slanted and sloppy.

    That said, what these other kids are doing is 110% wrong – especially using school computers. The fact that he has a form of autism doesn’t matter – it would be wrong no matter the victim.

    • sperlaine

      Unfortunately, my autistic nephew is capable of going into violent rages. It can be triggered by his many food allergies, when he is taken out of his comfort zone or when his routine is broken. Obsessive-compulsive disorder and abnormal fixations are very common traits among autistic people. His emotional levels also go from very high to very low, so my sister always approaches him with caution because as he gets older and stronger, they can be hard to handle at times. This isn’t going to be something he “grows out of.” In addition, he is unable to read people–to distinguish emotion–so he doesn’t know if he’s hurting people, emotionally or physically. The school administration better get used to it.

  • Joy

    The tormenting that has gone on the past few YEARS between this whole group of kids had nothing to do with normal, average or autism. It had to do with attitudes and lack of respect…oh and being immature Jr High kids. But that doesn’t get attention does it? A plan was put into place last week to degrade the school and get media attention. How do you do that? You add a label. So viewers really need to understand all kids involved are not mean, hateful kids out to target one child for being ‘different’. Just be aware as viewers that the terms autism and aspergers were just brought up. But that was sure the lead in to the story.

    • NT versus ASD

      so…is an ASD child capable of bullying? I’ve been reading these comments all day. one that sticks with me is the mother that said that ASD children are not vindictive. And I’m not saying I don’t believe her. My child has a friend who has Auspergers. Nicest kid I’ve ever met. Had his mother not told me of his diagnosis, I would have never known. the only difference I see between him and any of his class mates is that his emotions tend to run a little stronger. He gives hugs spur-of-the-moment, but, he also gets very upset, and may shed a few tears, if he misses a question on a test.

      If an NT child intentionally, without provocation, punches another child, especially one who is ‘different’ for whatever reason, it is, sadly, generally done for entertainment purposes, either their own, or their friends. That is most assuredly bullying. It’s wrong, totally wrong. I think we all agree on that.

      If an ASD child who is over stimulated, intentionally, without provocation, punches another child, is that bullying?

      It’s the same act, granted, different reasons, but the same end result.

      Should those two children be handled differently? We are outraged when the innocent ASD child is hit by an NT child.

      What about an innocent NT child being hit by an ASD child?

  • Jason

    Leave it to a bunch of Texans. I’ve been to and have spent a decent amount of time in all 50 states in this great nation and I can honestly say that Texas has the highest concentration of ignorance, bigotry, and just flat out nonsense. I’m not saying all Texans abide by this but I believe the majority of the population does.

    Texas, do the rest of the country a favor and take your politics and your beliefs back to the 1950’s. You’re only holding us back now.

    • Matt

      Hey. Jason. While you’re being all holier-than-thou and insulting Texas, maybe if you pulled your head out of your butt you would see that this story is from IOWA. It’s Melcher-Dallas. Not Dallas. Moron.

    • Use Your Head

      They’re in Iowa. And stop making generalizations about an entire state. That’s completely ridiculous.

  • Education for all or personal responsibility

    I’ve seen comments in here about how it is the responsibility of the parents of NT children to educate themselves about ASD. Because your child has a ‘disease’, it is my responsibility to understand it.

    Does that mean that we all also have to understand Down’s syndrome, peanut allergies, celiac disease, and every other possible issue of every other child our child might ever come in contact with?

    I don’t know if that is realistic.

    If a teacher has an ASD child in their classroom,and their is a simple coping mechanism for them, or a ‘clue’ that they are getting over stimulated, the teacher should certainly be made aware of that.
    I don’t think you can expect every other student in that school, as well as their parents, and the community at large, to be aware of these things.

    In the end, as parents, we are responsible for our own child(ren). We have a friend who’s son is allergic to many common food items. when their child comes to our house, she does not expect me to buy rice flour, fake eggs, etc to meet her child’s dietary needs. She sends an acceptable snack with him. He knows that he can’t eat the same foods that my child does. We obviously don’t make fun of this child because of this, we don’t make a big deal out of it. But, his parents accept the responsibility for the extra effort required to meet his needs.

    • Jen

      The problem with Asperger Syndrome in particular is, it’s an invisible thing that regularly passes as the kid’s being deliberately ignorant, rude, sarcastic or a smartass. THAT IS PART OF BEING ASPY. Teachers who expect all the kids to be alike can comprehend the deaf kid needs reading material instead of a spoken lesson, or the kid in a wheelchair doesn’t have to run track. But they all say THAT kid is bright, should know how to get by just like the rest of them. Self-advocating? Every report card I’ve ever seen has said my son needs to speak up more when he’s tuning out. And yet when he does raise his hand someone else is called on and he’s shushed. This principal is clueless. Basic consideration rather than mocking someone different in ANY way should be encouraged. Just because the kid’s not delayed doesn’t mean he has it easy.

    • Declan S

      “Does that mean that we all also have to understand Down’s syndrome, peanut allergies, celiac disease, and every other possible issue of every other child our child might ever come in contact with?

      I don’t know if that is realistic.”

      You are literally typing this on an a powerful machine that has access to vast storage of knowledge. It takes fifteen minutes to google these things and print out the WebMD page. How is that not realistic? It is as easy as pie.

      As for being responsible for you children? You are responsible for not letting them be worthless little sociopaths who think the entire world has to pander to their every whim and make them as comfortable as possible. You are responsible for letting them know that sometimes in life people are different and those different people will make them uncomfortable and might say things that they don’t like. But because the world doesn’t revolve around your child they will just have to be a man and take it. That they have been blessed not to have a neurological disorder or a disease (some vague one because all of that googling to think of a real one wouldn’t be realistic for you) and because they are so blessed they have to make allowances for those who are not so blessed.

      Raising that kind of child will actually do some good for the world. But since you are too lazy to type “autism” or “peanut allergy” into wikipedia I can’t imagine you have the effort to be that kind of parent.

    • Destiny Kruse

      You people should be ashamed of yourselves! Anyone who can defend such deplorable behavior is on the lowest rung of humanity. If these were my kids I’d be so incredibly ashamed of them. Yet somehow there are parents, ADULTS, that think such actions are not only okay but warranted. Those people are sick and I hope to God one day they find out firsthand what this child went through.

  • Aspermom

    As the parent of a child with Asperger’s, I understand exactly what Dawn & Levi are going through. I dealt with the exact same thing for years at my son’s former school & can attest to the fact that sometimes he brought on incidents himself. However, the real issue here as some have mentioned is a lack of education on this disability. It is not a visible disability & others can not see it so the assumption is that the child is just like any other when in fact they are very, very different. Others have also mentioned that children like this don’t belong in this school. I don’t know anything about the school, but I assume it is a public school. To those who say he doesn’t belong in the Dallas-Melcher school, you are probably right. There are wonderful private schools for children with Asperger’s, one is even right here in Iowa. It costs around $3500 a month to attend. Now I am not sure of Dawn’s financial situation, but I am guessing if she is anything like me, she would do anything possible to give her son the best opportunities to learn. So, if anyone that doesn’t believe that Levi should be entitled to a public education as your children are, I am sure Dawn would gladly allow you to pay for his private education. Please understand we did not ask for our children to be disabled, but they are. Learn about the disability before you judge it. Maybe the Dallas-Melcher district would benefit from a presentation about Asperger’s & other forms of autism. Also, as a side note, in my situation the students weren’t the biggest bullies. It was the uneducated (on this disability) teachers (not all of course) & the principal. Again, this was my experience, not saying that is the case here.

    • NT mom

      I pay to send my NT child to a private school because she was violently attacked and permanently scarred by an ASD child.
      The child had attacked before due to space issues, you can’t stand within 3 feet of them or they freak out.

      everyone was expected to just deal with it.
      So, since my NT child has to go to a private school to feel safe from an ASD child, does that mean that I should expect the ASD community to take up a collection for her tuition? No? Guess what, I am working extra shifts and cutting corners to take responsibility for my child. Maybe some other people need to do the same.

      • Aspermom

        I just read your comments above NT Mom. And I understand your frustration. I also pay to send my Aspire son to private school now as well. My husband had to take a second job in order to afford this. I also take on contract jobs when possible, but work full time plus we have one other child. The bullying my son suffered began with a group of “popular” kids on his bus. He was not the bully in these situations & I know this because his older sister (a junior in high school at the time) witnessed them. She would report them to the bus driver & no action was taken. After many, many incidences, & my own attempts of teaching my son not to react (which he didn’t) & my talking with the bus driver, he finally did blow up on a kid one day and pushed the kid after the kid punched him. Again, all witnessed by my 17 y.o.

        My son ended up receiving a bus ticket. That same week he got two more for hiding under the seats. The bus driver refused to let him sit with his sister in the back of the bus because he wasn’t old enough & he had an assigned but it was OK for these other kids to sit wherever & they were in the same grade as my son. On the third ticket the policy is the child is off the bus for a week. I contacted the principal at this point. I reported the situation. Our schools policy is you handle bus issues with the bus driver directly. The principal “investigated” & found it to be my son’s fault.

        The day of the purported “investigation” my son came home from school with a 2×3 inch bruise on his rib cage. One of the kids from the bus had attacked him with a stick at recess & by the end of the school day it was already black. He told the recess teacher but they didn’t see it so it didn’t happen. When I called the principal about this, he said he would also investigate. In the end, again, my son was lying. However I learned the school had cameras & asked for the videos. Sure enough, there was video proof of it all.

        That is when the bullying began by his principal & SE teacher. It was then that I started asking for further accommodations to protect my son (and essentially your child too if she had been at the school). I had to fight the school though tooth & nail because they didn’t want to make those accomadations.

        You see, again as an Aspire mom I wanted what was best for my child. I wanted the least restrictive learning environment for him. I wanted him to be able to socialize because if you know anything about those on the AS they need that. In the end though, his education had suffered so greatly it was no longer worth the fight.

        You see, you have faced a loss but so have I. I am only able to see my son once a month and at holidays. His school is year round. He needs that now more than ever becuse he has lost 3 years worth of reading skills & 5 years worth of math skills. He has also been diagnosed with PTSD because of the bullying he suffered (I did not go in to the worst of it on here because it is very painful). I miss him a lot, especially when we talk on the phone. I want him home with us, but when I think of putting him in public school again it terrifies me.

        All kids can be so cruel. All schools (by now) should have an anti-bullying policy and if they don’t have one, they should have some sort of positive behavior program as well. These programs teach about different kids: Aspies, physically handicapped, ADHD, purple kids, whatever it may be. My point in my earlier post was that there is a system in place (IEP’s with behavior plans) to be used to mainstream Aspies, but sometimes the IEP is not followed or written poorly. This could be due to many factors. If there is no IEP in place in this case (or in your daughter’s offenders case) then that is error on the parent’s part. As a side note, my son started preschool with an IEP & the school was well aware of his abilities & disabilities as soon as I was aware of them. I look at it as a partnership. We both have a common goal in mind, to educate my child. I will do my part & you do yours.

      • AspieMom

        You are full of it. As an Aspie with two Aspie children who has done considerable research on Asperger’s (having also been married to an Aspie), violent behavior is not the norm for people with Asperger’s. Indeed, it is not one of the diagnostic criteria that define the syndrome. Some people with an ASD may exhibit violence just as some neurotypical children display violence, but most Aspies keep to themselves and very rarely initiate conflict with others.

        I was a victim of violent bullying and sexual harassment in school. My ex-husband and children were victims of bullying and violence from other children in school. In fact, more than 80% of children with Asperger’s are victims of bullying.

        It hardly seems fair to send all Aspies to special schools or imply they should not be mainstreamed when the majority of the violence comes from the non-Aspies. Not to mention, most of us–including my family–have far above average intelligence. If Aspies do need a special school, it is because their neurotypical peers are a drag on the Aspies’ ability to get an education that matches their intelligence level given the public school system’s penchant for teaching to the lowest common denominator.

        And schooos do not give disabled kids a free pass to do whatever they want, including violence. My kids get detention if they are late, get F’s if they miss assignments, and would certainly be held accountable if they hurt other children.

        Most Aspies, by the way, rigidly adhere to rules. That is not to say they never have meltdowns or always understand the rules as explained. But they typically do not throw rocks or call names.

        The girl you claim attacked your daughter may have had other issues or may have been unable to handle the situation she was placed in, which is something the adults should have been more cognizant of. But I guarantee you that if you removed every kid from school who ever behaved violently, a far higher percentage of neurotypical kids would be ejected.

      • NT Mom

        Aspermom, my heart goes out to you and your child. I am very saddened that you are separated from your son.

        AspieMom – WOW! Attack much? I’m not CLAIMING that my child was attacked. I know it for a fact. She came home with one side of her face completely torn up by teeth and nails. They do not expect to ever be able to completely remove the scars.
        We were told that she was standing too close to a child who is on the ASD spectrum. They said that child had attacked before, but, not for awhile. To the kids being attacked, they attacks seemed unprovoked. They were simply standing there, maybe they shifted over closer. To the ASD child, the NT child apparently appeared threatening. SOME with ASD are violent. One gentleman commented that his nephew’s mother approaches him with caution as his violent outbursts are unpredictable and can be brought on by numerous things.

        I realize that violence is not a given trait of ASD. Interesting how if an NT parent says something about ASD children, we are attacked for generalizing, but, it’s ok for ASD parents to say how NT children have such lesser intelligence than ASD children , NT children are the bullies, etc..

        I DO believe there are some ASD children that cannot be mainstreamed, at least not in a school that doesn’t have the specialized facilities. Even I, the mother of a sub-intelligent NT Neanderthal, realize that there are different levels of ASD. I don’t believe they can all learn well in a standardized setting.

        YES, the child that attacked my daughter WAS given a free pass for violence!! She HAD attacked multiple times before! Her parents threatened to sue the school if the teachers so much as looked at their child wrong. THERE WERE NEVER ANY REPERCUSSIONS FOR HER ATTACKS!!!!!!!!!!!!

        SOME schools do have different rules for ASD kids vs NT Kids.
        My nephew was suspended for 3 days from school for hitting another child in the shoulder. No marks, no damage, no injuries. The other child wasn’t even that upset. The other child had been taking my nephews things and throwing them on the floor. As my nephew picked up his things, for the third time, and walked past this child, he hit the other child on the shoulder with the back of his hand. This was not a punch in the face, this was not a swat with a ruler. Should he have done it, obviously not, but, it was no more than a ‘hey, knock if off’. He was immediately sent to the principal. My sister was called and had to come get him for his suspension. Zero tolerance….if you are NT.

  • Can't Wait to leave MD

    I have to just put this out there. I am very saddened by the recent happenings here in the Melcher~Dallas Community! FACT: A child with Special Needs was mistreated! FACT: Others witnessed this action and did NOTHING. FACT: This was done at school and with the use of school computers, allowing the kids to post this on Facebook at school. FACT: The Father of the accused is blaming the child who was BULLIED! WHAT??? First of all, educate yourself about Special Needs. Also, the Principal is putting the responsibility on the students… WHAT??? Take responsibility and find a solution for the problem!! Also, why are students allowed to be on Facebook at school. As an administrator, this sights should be blocked! Most employers do this at their employment. Sounds like not a lot of teaching is being done, instead a LOT of Social Media, and parents send the kids there for an EDUCATION!!! What is wrong here? After reading the comments on here, I am appalled! For one, the woman who is PROUD of her nephew who punched Levi in the mouth obviously is clueless. First of all, the school is a NO TOLERANCE school and if her nephew hit him at school, he should have been dealt with appropriately. This type of behavior is learned, so he evidently has learned to use his hands to deal with situations. There is probably a jail cell in his future! Also, I know all to well how the faculty at a school will stick together. My boys were barely 5 years old when we found this out! They were ABUSED by the Principal!!! (Don’t get me started)!! Let’s protect the ones who do the hurting, not the ones who got hurt. I have lived in Melcher-Dallas for almost 11 years now and have NEVER felt welcomed. My kids were bullied from day 1, for being the NEW Kids… WHAT??? For being the only kids at the bus stop who’s parents are still married… WHAT??? Having their lives threatened by a High School student on the bus, while in Elementary… Oh, HELL NO!!! In another statement, it was said that there are several families who still live here, but Heaven forbid if you are an “Outsider” and move to this community!!! You are looked at like, “Who the hell are you and why are you here”?? I have always lived in small towns and always felt welcomed where ever we moved, until we moved here!! The problem lies with the parents. Those who allow their kids to harm others and let them get away with it… SHAME ON YOU!!!! Wake up, your children are destined to be criminals!!! May God help you!!!

    • m-d saints

      Can’t wait to leave MD,
      Just stop already! Well let’s see here.. was there a teacher in the room? NO! Was a school computer used? NO! You can’t even record videos on them!
      Were you there to see it? NO! Now was I there,YES! Did I say to stop? YES! Did I tell them to take it down? YES! Was it taken down? YES! Sorry to tell you, but if you are gonna run your mouth you need to know the entire story, noot just what channel 13 is saying! Actually, you know what? Let’s just not run the mouth! And if you just can’t wait to leave melcher so bad? Great, less people to make the town look terrible!

      • Can't wait to leave MD

        Oh, my bad, I was quoting exactly what WHOTV reported in their first article, and I quote, “But now his classmates are ramping up the bullying, posting videos of Levi online using school issued computers.” And then they went on to say, “There were other kids in the class watching this happen. You can see it on the video. And nobody even admitted to seeing it. The teacher was in the classroom and never admitted to seeing it happen. It’s horrible that nobody’s doing anything about this.”

        So, either they got their Facts wrong or you are lying. Just saying! Either way, it happened, it was posted. This was just brought to light because of the video, he has been bullied before this video, because he is different!!! And THAT is heartbreaking!

        I just don’t think that any child should be belittled, bullied, or abused in anyway what so EVER!

    • jamie harrison

      Excuse me miss know it all. I’m not a terrible person you are portraying me as. This incident didn’t happen at school with my nephew and he was punished. HE DOESN’T GO AROUND HITTING PEOPLE EITHER. how dare you bring up a jail cell, you must have experienced that eh?. .. I didn’t say I condone my nephew to go around hitting people if they call him names. Why not stick up for yourself, maybe it will stop then. This child torments other kids at school, after school and on weekends, parents and kids are getting frustrated by it. My heart hurts for levi, I wish he had peace. Its hard for him to control himself I bet, but he is a smart kid, he knows right from wrong, IF NOT I believe he needs to be in a control environment instead of a Community School. Why should the other kids have to walk on egg shells and wait for his next blow up. That takes away from all of them learning. I believe you are the one that is clueless missy. MD is a friendly town, maybe you didn’t make an attempt to get to know anyone if you haven’t ever felt welcomed . sad.. obtw HALF OF YOUR “FACTS’ aren’t even true.. I wasn’t going to comment again, because the people that know me, knew what I meant by that statement, then you come along blow it all out of proportion as some others did too.. so I’ll leave it at that. WHOTV didn’t help either. I think someone (whoever), wanted their 5 minutes of fame and it blew up in their face. None of this needed happen, I have full confidence in the school administration to get to the bottom of it..
      I apologize for anyone that was disturbed at what I wrote, but it was with a good heart (i love my nephews), and I do feel sorry for Levi. I won’t apologize for being proud of my nephew for sticking up for himself finally. There would be more sucessfull/self confident people in the world if they did the same. God helps me everyday, “can’t wait to get out of md”.. May God help you!! sorry, but you sound like a bully!!

      • Picked on as a kid!

        Jamie,
        I have to agree with you, there are times that you HAVE to hit back!
        I was a fat kid and grew up physically and verbally abused regularly. You can say that I should have just lost weight, I can do that, an ASD kid can’t become NT. But, I wish that just once I would have belted one of those other kids as they were pulling my shirt up over my face so they could write on my belly, or pushing me until I fell in the mud, or down the stairs. Sometimes you have to stand up for yourself. Walking away, especially in a small school doesn’t always work. In a rural community there aren’t always that many distractions, so, once kids start picking on someone, they tend to keep it up until something makes them stop.
        Telling an adult isn’t always and option either. That just makes the abuse worse.

      • Can't wait to leave MD

        First of all, I’m not portraying you as a bad person, I said that you are PROUD of your nephew for hitting Levi. There are other ways to solve an issue other than violence, there is always another choice! I will admit to you though that I was going off of what the news reported and did not know until I went and scrolled through the hundreds of post to find your original one stating that he had hit your nephew the week before, so for that I apologize. But, was it brought to his parents attention. Were they informed about Levi hitting him?

        No, I have never had an experience with a jail cell or anyone in my family, as we are NOT violent people. My kids were bullied for years and never struck another kid. They dealt with it in other ways. My husband and I made it clear that they would be punished for their actions if they were to ever harm anyone, unless they were hit first, and had no other choice than to fight back to defend theirselves! They are good kids and never caused anyone heartache. I am very proud to be their mom!

        My heart hurts for Levi too, and this situation hits too close to home! Which is why I voiced my opinion.

        We have made attempts to get to know people in this town, but you know when you are NOT welcomed! There are some really nice people in this town, don’t get me wrong, but there are some really nasty people too! I remember going to a football game once and left 20 minutes in and went home and cried my eyes out because my husband and I got nothing but glares and cold shoulders from the other people on MD side! When you look at people, and smile at them and they give you dirty looks, what is one to do??? Our neighbors never made an attempt to welcome us.

        My kids have graduated, by the way, not sure why you want to know that! They were bullied from elementary until around their Sophomore year in High School. Read my earlier post! Was any of those situations right? They were constantly belittled and picked on because they were new in the school. When I was a kid, everyone always tried to be the first one to befriend the new kid, that never happened here. It did in the previous school they attended and I cried like a little baby the last day they attended that school because we were treated like family and were never mistreated… EVER!!! They were spit on and called names at the bus stop because my husband and I are still married, and the only parents of kids out of the 5 or 6 groups of kids at the bus stop. Is that right??? And then the day that they came home because one of them unintentionally had his foot in the isle on the bus and another kid tripped, so his big bad cousin got in his face screaming that he was going to kill him… Then when they got home they were white as ghosts, shaking, and scared, and one of them cried for 20 minutes uncontrollably because of what he saw happen to his brother. Is that right??? One of them was even intimidated by the football coach when he was a freshman, before football practice even started in the summer and had to do required weight room time and they were doing “max outs” on day 1 and he strained his back so badly that it still bothers him today!!! Is that right??? I know what bullying is! I have experienced it, but I have NEVER been the Bully, I only try and stick up for those who are abused, bullied, belittled etc…

        You don’t know me and you never will…

      • Use Your Head

        You’re not getting it… standing up for yourself does not mean hitting someone, period. Unless someone is physically assaulting another, which was not the case here. If your nephew felt harassed by Levi he should have told an adult. And if you knew this was going on prior to your nephew hitting Levi, you should have spoken to Levi’s mother. Why is that so hard to understand? That is what people are upset about regarding your comment- that you think advocating hitting as a solution is okay.

    • jamie harrison

      can’t wait to leave MD: who are you and how old are your kids? I was just thinking that might explain why your reaction was how it was..

  • Jock Gaughan

    For what it is worth I would like to comment on this situation. I am a long way away from all of this but I have a son who has just turned 19 years old and is one of the most precious people in my life. I live in Queensland Australia and for the last 2 years my son has been studying at home with an open, computer based, schooling system with the help of my wife who is a teacher herself. From an early age we knew that something was wrong and that he was a bit different. He was finally diagnosed with Aspergers when he was 12 years old….a relief to know that there was something wrong and that we needed to find mechanisms to deal with this. We immediately discovered that by eyeballing him when asking questions such as…it’s time to have a shower….that we did not need to raise our voice or tell him ten times to do these things. When they are doing something their attention is totally focused on that so contact has to be made!! At school he had a torrid time of being bullied by kids and the mental torture he endured was just horrific. So all of you out there who ask why they may hit out just have a good look at yourself and ask if you dished out some of that crap when you were at school. These children are special and do need a lot of help and sure the other classmates need to be educated about how they think…..but will the school system here in Australia or any other civilised country do that….I don’t think so. They also have so much medicine prescribed for them that at times they are just like guinea pigs or lab rats! It would be so easy to give up. For what it is worth my son has just finished high school and has achieved amazing results….he is not in an environment where he was constantly in fear of who was going to give him a hard time or just plain slag him off for being in their words…. a retard! He is now becoming a confident young man and as lots of people with ASD kids will tell you…..a gentle, caring and loving person who genuinly care about our world and the people in it. For many of you who want to understand how their minds work please watch a movie….a true story called Temple Grandin! You may then get a true insight into how these beautiful children struggle with life…..the best thing is that it is a true story set in the USA.
    THESE KIDS ARE NOT RETARDS, BULLY’S OR ANY OTHER STRANGE THINGS YOU MAY WISH TO CALL THEM….THERE ARE REASONS WHY THEY BEHAVE AS THEY DO….REAL REASONS.
    SO WAKE UP SMELL THE ROSES AND TREAT THESE KIDS WITH THE RESPECT THEY DESERVE…TRY AND GET INVOLVED AND START HELPING….THEY ARE HUMAN BEINGS JUST LIKE THE REST OF US…..AND TOTALLY AMAZING LOYAL AND LOVING PEOPLE….DID YOU KNOW THAT SOME OF THE WORLDS MOST FAMOUS PEOPLE ARE ASD….EVEN BILL GATES!!! LOOK THEM UP FOR YOURSELF…IT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND!

    • Mrs. Barbara Pecze

      Hi Jock,
      Have a stepdaughter with aspergers who lives in NSW with her Mum. Had her Dad and Mum not taken her out the school that did little about bullying or accepting her disorder, she would not be the bright, self-confident teen she is now. She has just written lyrics that the school band is putting to music, to be recorded. Aspergers people are very different and perceive things differently than we do. My stepdaughter has to have a schedule, other wise she gets upset if things are changed suddenly. She is so much better in the public school with a special assistant, and no bullying. Her lyrics and poetry have made her popular.

      Cheers,
      Barbara Pecze

  • Crazy

    Ok, we all agree, bullying is bad.
    A child should not be made fun of for ANY reason.
    I keep hearing how hard it is to have ‘special needs’ kids.
    My child is not special needs, she is special though, at least to her dad and I!

    She is very intelligent, not very athletic. Guess what, she gets picked on too. Raising a child, any child, is difficult if you care about them at all.

    I’m sorry, but, I think the special needs parents need to take responsibility for their children, not expect the rest of the world to conform to them.

    If any child wants to attend public schools, they need to follow the rules. If they are going to be members of society, they need to follow society’s laws and rules. It is no more ‘ok’ for Levi to throw rocks and people and cars (I had my windshield broken by a kid and a rock once) then it is for anyone else to throw rocks at people and cars.

    Rather than trying to educate an entire community and expect them to excuse your ASD child, maybe you should talk to your child’s classmates. Have your child explain some of the triggers that cause them to act out and what their classmates can do to help avoid those triggers. Maybe if this was all out in the open, it would help the NT kids to understand the reactions they get from the ASD child.

    Don’t expect me to spend my life educating myself and my child on ASD on the chance that we may someday encounter someone with it. We aren’t all learning sign language on the off chance we may someday need to communicate with someone who is deaf. We will cross that bridge if/when we come to it.

    • RJ

      What is it you don’t seem to understand about an individual’s brain not functioning properly? In your distorted view, you expect individuals with a brain disorder to force themselves to act as appropriately as an individual with a normally functioning brain. You are encouraging bad behavior by encouraging reaction with bad behavior. If what I’m saying is a little too much for you to grasp, then I suggest you open a book or two and begin reading about the human brain and how it controls every aspect of our daily lives. Wow, you and those like you with little compassion or tolerance must have had wonderful childhoods yourselves. But many of us seem to TOLERATE the way you think and feel or lack thereof in terms of FEEL.

  • Twitch

    My younger brother has a form of high-functioning autism that is similar to Asperger’s; he’s also got hydrocephalus, so if anyone ever physically hurt him, he’d likely have to be rushed to the emergency room immediately. Although I have a hard time getting along with him, he’s still my brother and I would never tolerate anyone mistreating him.
    People with autism do not “bring it on themselves,” their problem is that they are have difficulty recognizing social cues that normal people take for granted; they have no concept of tact and it’s not their fault, it’s just the way they’re wired.

    • Mrs. Barbara Pecze

      Hi Twitch, I have a stepdaughter with aspergers, and they have a hard time with social cues, but she’s getting better now that she’s 16. Her Dad, my husband, has a bit of aspergers, and that has been a help with him explaining his own experiences. She’s now a popular lyric writer with the lyrics being put to music by the school band and recorded. They often learn social cues by imitating others like John Elder Robison whose written 2 books about the disorder and is wealthy with a jeep dealer ship, plus he taught himself electronics and worked for bands like KISS. I think aspergers kids are gifted, and can learn social cues.

  • Lobster

    Sounds like there are a good many parents in that town that need to have their heads examined. What a bunch of creeps!!

  • Michael

    Truthfully I am surprised the father of the accused knows fractions in the first place! I am a father of a autistic child and the people here that say that the child brings it on himself to get bullied need to be educated on the condition. This story disgusts me and if I was the parent of this child, I would do everything I could to get my child out of this school district and get a lawyer!

    • RJ

      They are BEGGING for a lawsuit and they will get it. I can’t wait for a lawyer to take this case for this kid and give this school district a civil suit to remember. Then let’s see how the Board president defends his Principal when it comes down to the all-mighty dollar and flat-out embarrassment.

      • Michael Ramsey

        Considering the parents encourage this, they should sue the families. Make it so that you have to take responsibility for your childs actions if they are a bully.

  • RJ

    Melcher-Dallas is a typical rinky-dink community where everyone is in everyone’s business that has lived there long enough and if you are “outside” of their norms, you are in for big trouble and your life will be miserable there. This is definitely a “pod-people” town. Not just in the movies, they really do exist!!! Frightening but true!!!

  • Ashley

    I seriously believe that no bullying should be tolerated. Even if that child so calls “brings it on themselves.” Yet people wonder why kids of a younger age are going to school with guns and killing their classmates and anyone who gets in the way or the child being bullied ends up killing themselves. Shame on those parents that agree with the bullying! Seriously, grow up and sit your child down and explain to them that “bringing on bullying” is not the right thing to do. Get counseling for the child if need be but don’t encourage bullying to be right.

  • Linda

    As a parent of a son with Aspergers I know from my own experience that the bulling more than likely started way before the name calling, the name calling probably was this child’s defense against the bulling. Most people with Aspergers are very anti-violent. They don’t like confrontations. My son suffered numerous antics from bullies, most As. people do, how we got through it I don’t know. My son, now 21 leads a very happy life.
    Maybe if the school had more education on disabilities they might figure out how to approach this problem and they might figure out how to educate these kids and their parents on why he acts the way he does.

  • RJ

    The ignorant flock to the ignorant. If you move to one of these dead-end towns, be ready for little or no tolerance of anything different and for you to either “JOIN THEM” MU HA HA HA or risk become an outcast. Oh, and their kids can DO NO WRONG!!! Even if they punch a special needs person. Very much “pod people” develop from towns like this.

    • Mrs. Barbara Pecze

      Dear Paul,
      As a stepmum to an aspergers child, since we took steps to stop the bullying and put her in a different school, she has confidence and her lyrics will be recorded to music. The bullying almost killed her self-esteem and self confidence. She’s a different girl, today. What in heaven’s name, is wrong with the parents; I think the poor kids needs a loving home as it doesn’t sound like he’s getting one. Aspergers is a disorder, that needs treatment, not ridicule and punishment.

    • Mrs. Barbara Pecze

      Hi Alexandra, I agree, and I have a stepdaughter who has aspergers. It’s a disorder, and bullying any child whether that child is normal or not, is morally wrong. We had to take my stepdaughter out of the school and put her in a school where she had an assistant, and bullying was not tolerated. She is almost sixteen with a gift for writing poetry and lyrics; the school band is putting her lyrics to music, and they will be recorded. Had we not taken her out of the previous school where teachers ignored the bullying, she would not be the confident, gifted girl that she is now. Bullying is wrong, and must not be tolerated!

  • Mrs. Barbara Pecze

    I have a stepdaughter who has aspergers. It’s a disorder, and bullying any child whether that child is normal or not, is morally wrong. We had to take my stepdaughter out of the school and put her in a school where she had an assistant, and bullying was not tolerated. She is almost sixteen with a gift for writing poetry and lyrics; the school band is putting her lyrics to music, and they will be recorded. Had we not taken her out of the previous school where teachers ignored the bullying, she would not be the confident, gifted girl that she is now. Bullying is wrong, and must not be tolerated!

  • Allen

    She needs to sue the school board and parents. This belongs I. The court system, because clearly the town is full of morons and won’t learn unless it is in their wallets.

  • Can't be True

    This has to be hoax. There can’t really be such a cliché small town full of small minded, ignorant people. Its like a Steven King novel “the town that compassion forgot” or maybe “…..that tolerance forgot”. Blaming the media? so old. Jamie, Ashley, Fair treatment for ALL kids, etc–you do know that your over the top defensiveness is screaming the absurdity of your behavior.

  • danielle (@daniellegee)

    The parents of these bullies should be ashamed of themselves. If I EVER found out my child was treating a kid that way, I wouldn’t have the gall and audacity to blame the victim, much less on *television*. They screwed up whilst parenting. A lot of people do. But don’t go on public record and claim otherwise. How shameful. And how frustrating to type this and know more than likely they’re too ignorant to ever know better.

  • No One You Know

    There it is folks – the “real” America. Land of guns, god and the Tea Party where parents and principals defend kids who bully, rather than protect disabled students. What would Jesus say? “He had it coming” Am I right?

    • Corey

      Out of all the posts on here this is the most honest and true! They should all be ashamed of themselves. Gross little community.

    • jackknife319

      Look… I own a few firearms, I’m a T-party adherent (economically like-minded), and I believe in the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and in his Son J-s-s Christ sent here to take upon himself the sin of mankind and be punished for it. I find this behavior and culture of cruelty to be abhorrent. You don’t need to alienate people you would normally disagree with politically to make a point on this issue, b/c there are plenty here who vote (R) that are shredding these people, including me. BTW, a Yale Law Professor did a study on peoples’ knowledge of Science vis-a-vis their political affiliation. Dems scored higher than Reps on avg., but self identifying T-party subjects scored better on Science than everyone, on average. Look it up.

  • Tyson Fricker

    Not surprised that these parents would defend the bullying acts of their children. These terrible kids were produced by terrible parents. Apples don’t fall far from the trees.

  • Mark Roberts

    I wonder how old Nate Goof and Jamie Harrison feel now that this story and their wonderful support of bullying have been picked up by Yahoo? Hmm, wonder if anyone has disabled their facebook page or changed their name? Doesn’t feel nice to have people picking on you, does it now?

  • Declan S

    I am sure there is no use in trying to make anyone involved understand the science and reality of autism. We are talking about people who cheer on their nephew’s physical assault of people with disabilities. Don’t beat up and post videos of the disabled is generally considered a basic premise of morality. If these are people too dumb to grasp that then there is no use.

    It is a shame how weak and pathetic this generation. There was a time where kids knew not to go beating up the disabled. Where kids were able to be taught to be respectful even when it is difficult. Most of these kids don’t have neurological disorders. This could be used to teach them how to be real men. Mature and responsible who know when to fight and know when to back off. But their families have chosen to make them pandered to little babies who will grow up believing the whole world has to cater to them and if anyone makes them vaguely uncomfortable they get to punch them. It is going to be a big shock when they get into the world and there will be all sorts of people with all sorts of issues.

    Thank you, Jamie Harrison, for helping to raise a weak spineless generation who flip out at at any perceived disrespect and beat the handicapped.

  • Scarz

    The kid is probably on edge about his disability because people have always made him feel different. You are going to feel very defensive when people pick on you everyday, until one day you snap. When I was in fourth grade these two kids would pick on me everyday at lunch and I would accept it. For months it went on until I snapped. I didn’t know what to say so in an outrage I yelled “YOU PEOPLE NEED TO STOP PICKING ON ME.” They happened to be african american and my self a really pale white kid got sent to the principals office for being racist. Luckily the lunch aid was observant enough to witness what was going on and she her self was african american. The moral of the story is that adult intervention is required, the people to blame are the school teachers for not intervening and recognizing what really is happening. Instead they left it to a principal who had not witnessed first hand what was going on and this is the outcome. It takes a village to raise a child, instead these people are telling the child hes an A**H*** and that he deserves to get punched in the face. He would have serious serial killer problems in the future if it weren’t for his loving mother.

  • Yikes

    Does anyone in this community know if he was ever actually diagnosed “officially”?? Knowing this family, I can see the “label” being something that was made up for the attention. I guess I would like to know if the school was ever given this diagnosis before this issue popped up? This family is good at working the system and crying wolf to place blame anywhere but with themselves. So just know the facts before you make a snap choice on who is right and wrong. There are public Facebook posts among family that prove interesting to show that this “news release” was planned in advance.

    • proud md resident

      I would have to agree, the family likes to get lawyers involved and make themselves coming out smelling like a rose when they are clearly at fault. Looking at the video several times of the mother talking, did you see her reactions and the look on her face. She was actually smiling and had a smerk on her face talking about her son being bullyed. and her son never once looked at the camera. If it was my son i certainly wouldnt be smiling on national tv.

      • Lynn

        Proud md resident,

        You have to be kidding! The child isn’t looking at the camera because of autism! Do some research and maybe grow a heart! Your entire community needs to reevaluate your priorities! You should Be very ashamed to defend a child whom bullies another by posting a video. It really doesn’t matter what the reason! It still is bullying and unacceptable! No one causes another’s actions so there is no excuse good enough to justify the actions of the child bullying!

      • DeclanS

        “and her son never once looked at the camera.”

        That is a SIGN of autism. What is wrong with you people? You are seriously mocking his disease still? Still, you are blaming him for things he can’t control? You are typing on the internet. Google it. Yes, he was officially diagnosed. The tics and such clearly point to it.

        This level of ignorance is unfathomable.

    • Lynn

      Just to let you know! It takes year to get a diagnosis, and tones of testing! Do some research, and stop defending a bully! No cause justifies another hurting someone be it verbal or physical! To me it seams your entire community is filled with very ignorant people! I feel sad for this mom and child! All of you have no idea what it is like. Think to yourselves for five minutes. What would it be like not to be able to communicate? Not to use verbal language? Not to use body language? No ability or lack of ability to socialize? Think then the nervous ticks that occur? Then for one week, your entire community should try and go on your normal life without verbal written, or body language! See how long it is before your having a fit or even maybe having involuntary movements! I know one thing for sure! If all your community couldn’t speak as many autistic children can not, we would not have to hear your ignorance! Or even see it as you wouldn’t be posting these comments! Stop and give thought toward your actions to people that are disabled! Not all disabilities require not being able to walk! Research autism and Asperger’s at http://www.autismspeaks.org

  • Kay

    To everyone saying that it was right to bully this child, Asperger’s is a real condition. People who have it often can’t control actions and don’t understand social cues. So if he was doing something inappropriate, it would have been appropriate to talk the school.

    I can see a huge lack of understanding of what Asperger’s is. Saying bullying was the right thing is wrong. No one deserves to be bullied, not even the children who have bullied this child. Also I know for a fact that if these children were being bullied and parents were saying that they deserved it then the parents would be complaining in much the same way this boy’s mother did.

  • Lynn

    These families, and community should apologize for their lack of empathy and ignorance toward autism disorders. They also should make a public statement apologizing for the way they handled this situation of bullying. Point black no child has the right to post anything about another child without their permission, and certainly not in the intent to harm or make fun of the other. I can’t believe the ignorance of the father to actually say that this child brought it on himself. I bet he’s a horrible father figure because there is no way my children would be allowed to think the other child caused their actions! My children would be grounded and made to do some sort of community service! This community should be ashamed of itself!

  • LBK

    I am so grateful to not live in the Melcher-Dallas school district. WOW, what a messed up way of thinking. From the parents of the bullies to the principal, sounds like more education is desperately needed.

  • Kat

    Parents who raised kids to think it is okay to bully special needs kids are defending their kids when they bully a kid with special needs??? Color me shocked!

    A part of me hopes these kids grow up and have kids with special needs of their own. Everyday they will remember their actions as children and fully understand what monsters they were.

  • Brian

    Jesus H. Christ….what a disgusting group of people that live in this area. You people should be truly ashamed of yourself.

  • NT mom

    Well, there are definitely some heartbreaking stories here, on both the ASD side and the NT side.

    My emotions have run the gamut reading these comments.

    Bullying is bad, no matter if the victim is ASD or NT, and no matter if the aggressor is ASD or NT. And yes, even if the ASD child didn’t mean to hit/hurt the NT child, it still hurts. They are still children.

    Lots of the ASD families are saying that NT’s need to be better educated and need to realize that an ASD child cannot always control their actions.

    One ASD mom says it takes years and tons of tests to get an ASD diagnosis.

    How can we expect an elementary school student to pick up on something in a few minutes (maybe an ASD child is withdrawing due to overload, or striking out due to overload) or even in a few days at school, if it takes experts years to figure it out? How is my child supposed to know that your child is ASD? That isn’t always made known to the students. If it isn’t, you can’t expect the children to understand that isn’t not ok for one child to hit or yell, but it is ok for another child to hit or yell. That just looks like ‘favorites’ to the kids.

    Thank you to all of the ASD families and those with ASD for sharing your struggles. It has definitely given me a different perspective.

    I don’t know the family that the original story was about. I can only hope that they did not start all of this just to get attention. If they did, they have done their town, their school, and, most importantly, their child, a huge disservice.

    • Amanda Guyton

      My child was diagnosed at 2 1/2. Everybody in the school system knows him, and have known he is a special needs child since that time (he entered school immediately). Every classmate, every parent, every teacher is aware of my son. We still have problems of bullying. We have kids who deliberately target him. I’ll never forget going to school to have lunch with my son, to find the entire class in groups turning their backs to him, left out on every side. And my kid is a happy, cheerful child, who enjoys other people and works hard to socialize and behave in expected ways.

      In this day and age, being ignorant of people with special needs is unacceptable. Get yourself educated. Introduce true diversity to your children, from a very young age. Instill respect of others, and celebrate differences. There are some excellent children’s books and programs now available dealing with the issue of special needs classmates, and even autistic classmates specifically.

      Don’t remain ignorant. You miss out on wonderful people, wonderful friendships, and wonderful communities.

      • Not Ignorant

        Just because I am not ignorant and research ASD, it does not mean that I am going to be able to diagnose it in the space of an interaction with a child and know how to react to it. Triggers are different from one person to the other, calming methods are different from one person to the next.

  • jeff

    lets fast forward levi null 5 to 10 years,now he is standing in front of the mirror putting on lipstick and then piucks up a sheet of paper with a list of names and as he is leaving the house he picks up a rifle with a scope and heads out the door to his car, still want to bully him?

  • openminded

    Nobody here is looking at the big picture. You are all closed minded hicks from a small town.. Megan Turner, why would that girl care if she made Yahoo news? Everyone has a right to their own opinion. She sounded sincere and must know more than she is saying on a social media site. Character Counts they say! kudos

  • stopthebashing

    I have held my tongue as long as I could while perfect strangers have attacked the town I was raised in, where I raised my kids and where I still live. So many who pretend to be defending the child in the story are really just taking an opportunity to exercise opinions about a place and people they know nothing about, using vulgar language and labels that prove their own lack of compassion or empathy. Our small town is exactly as any small town or big city in America. Unfortunately, like every other community, we have people who are void of compassion and an interest in understanding or helping their neighbor. We also have compassionate, selfless people who spend time running the food bank, taking food to shut-ins, offering a community-wide Thanksgiving dinner for free, volunteering on our outstanding fire and rescue team, and a thousand other good things on a daily basis.

    If there is blame here, it belongs to TV 13. This story could have been an opportunity to educate the town and better yet the entire viewing area on a disease that is becoming epidemic. This is a child who has not only been the victim of bullying but has victimized many other children. Six-year-olds don’t understand about diseases—they only fear behaviors, and parents naturally react in a protective manner when their child is threatened (by anyone). And maybe all of you who are judging the father whose child posted the video have perfect children who would never, ever do such a thing. Kids disappoint us, but these should be teaching moments that are dealt with by the school and the parents. If your child used terrible judgment and posted something inappropriate, would your family be better off if it played out in the media or would you prefer to handle it without the public’s help?

    This situation is but a symptom of a public school system that is absolutely not set up to provide adequate structure and supervision for special needs kids. That’s not just Melcher-Dallas….that is every school district in our state. As a parent, I would never have allowed the story to air unless it was crafted in a manner that I felt would further understanding of the disease in a positive way. The way this story aired (including the follow-up that only served to make things worse) and the incredible damage it has caused is why I’m a lifelong viewer of KCCI news.

    • Aspermom

      As an Aspire mom I agree with you 100%. This story should have been about educating others on Aspire traits rather than bashing small towns. I grew up in a small town & live in a small town now. I think it is the best environment for my children to live in (and honestly safest). Yes, my Aspire son now lives in a bigger Iowa city to attend school & I can honestly say some things he has picked up being in the city I don’t like. The best part about small ttowns is community & usually in times of trouble or difficulty they come together to help one another. This story is tearing this small town apart. Had it been reported differently, it could have possibly brought it together, created awareness & possibly created friendships for Levi because of more understanding.

      Bullying is bullying, period. Those of you on here referring to this town as hick, backwoods or whatever else are now bullying an entire town that you have possibly never been and never will go to. I live in Iowa & don’t know where it is, but I would be offended if people attacked my town if they knew nothing about it. Think what you will about the situation with Levi & the people involved directly, but this is not an entire town’s fault. And again, the news station could have chose to educate (my station would have) instead of insinuate.

  • CE

    One parent said the young man called someone a nasty name and got punched for it. Quite frankly, I don’t have a problem with that. If that sort of behavior is what is causing the “bullying” then I’m afraid it isn’t bullying. If he truly can’t control his urges to insult people then he should be in a specialized school for people with this type of handicap. I personally would not excuse someone for tormenting me just because they have some condition that causes it. After so long, I’m going to knock him out.

    • lifelong md resident

      So if a little old lady walking down the street ran acroos a child like this and was attacked would it be ok for her to fight back?? Say she doesnt know he has a condition, he is a male teenager that is stonger than she is… how would you look at this??? Would she be a bully if she fought back?? Would the blame be on her because she “should of known he had a medical disorder” Do you think her family would be outraged??

      • Amanda Guyton

        People with autism are rarely randomly violent. In other words, if a little old lady is being attacked, we need more information to know what is actually happening and why. A “child like this” doesn’t just walk down the street and start beating up old ladies.

      • Not Ignorant

        Amanda – did you see the comment from the gentleman about this nephew? The boys mother is beginning to be afraid of him as he gets bigger and stronger. he has unpredictable VIOLENT outbursts brought on by food allergies, change in routine, etc.

        So…..what happens is this boy is in a class room and the fire alarm goes off? Now the teacher has to try to get all of the other children out of the building safely…keeping them safe from the fire AND the ASD child who is lashing out because the loud noises, flashing lights and disruption have triggered a violent reaction. Worse..what if it is a tornado alarm and the kids have to be in a small contained area together with him reacting like that?? It sounds like ASD’s are individuals just like everyone else. You can’t generalize the good characteristics in them any more than anyone else can the bad.

      • AspieMom

        Maybe you should read up on high functioning autism/Asperger’s before continuing to make comments demonstrating your incredible ignorance on the subject. We Aspies/autistics are not rabid dogs who need to be leashed lest we attack people in a rage. My Aspie kids have been hit far more than they have ever hit anyone else (and for the record, they have only ever hit each other as brothers sometimes do).

        More often then not, people hit us, like neurotypical parents who think our behaviors are willful disobedience and classmates who think our “odd” reactions are funny or people who just hate us because we are “weirdos.” More than 80% of kids with Asperger’s are bullied.

        If this boy with an ASD sometimes calls names or throws rocks, it may be because he does not have the social skills to express his feelings about what has no doubt been an entire school life of being called names and hit and bullied.

        A kid in my son’s clasd used to think it was fun to take pins and stab my son in the legs. My son was a safe target because his desire to avoid confrontation meant he never fought back and his fear of initiating conversations meant he would never tell the teacher. I have to regularly probe to find out if they are being bullied because they will not always volunteer to talk about a situation that causes emotion and because sometimes they do not even recognize when they are being mistreated by another child.

        Most Aspies have an innate sense of fairness and do not pick on other people. This kid is probably suffering a lot of torment that goes well beyond this video and that has been going on sometime. He does not have the social skills to make it stop or even to deal with his emotions (yes, we Aspies do have emotions) and clearly the school is doing as little as possible to help, even refusing to acknowledge it as bullying. He probably does need help dealing with the hurt and anger and low self esteem he undoubtedly feels.

        As kids, we Aspies are often acutely aware that we are different and do not fit in. It can be embarrassing or frustrating or even depressing. It does not help when so called normal kids make it part of their daily routine to tell us how worthless and outcast we really are.

        I just tell my kids to ignore it because given their extreme intelligence and perseverance, they will one day be the people taking home the large paychecks while the bullies are dropping out of college or winding up in jail.

      • Not Ignorant

        AspieMom and Amanda, what about the ones that ARE violent?? You keep wanting to generalize only on the good traits of ASD. There are ASD’s out there that are violent. maybe they have been misdiagnosed and aren’t truly on the ASD spectrum. Maybe it is a completely different problem.
        Doesn’t really matter does it? A child who is randomly violent is a situation that needs to be addressed no matter what is causing them to be violent.

  • winston delgado

    It’s as if the display of awesome compassion and joy by the city of San Francisco to the Batkid is being countered by the nasty provincial ignorance of the people of Des Moines towards a boy with autism.

    I wish I could say that it is hard to believe that there are adults who can justify this behavior, but I can’t.

  • Winter day

    As a parent if 2 children with an Asperger’s
    diagnosis, I am encouraged to see all of the
    how many people are posting to defend children
    with hidden disabilities. I hope and pray that
    this community works together to educate those
    who may not know about Aspergers and how
    it affects actions. There are adult bullies in
    every community, but there are also wonderful
    defenders. I believe the majority community will
    do what’s right even if a few won’t.

  • Be Positive

    Stopthebashing, you got it right. The issue here is no longer the incident in MD….rather, the opportunity for people to shout out “holier than thou” comments. I have heard from many others that Channel 13 is notorious for this type of reporting. If they wanted to listen to the voice of reason, they would have chosen different posts and different people to interview. in fact, sincere, intelligent people were interviewed who received ZERO air time. Even the father of the alleged “bully” in his interview tried to make the point that they weren’t condoning the video or the action and that bullying shouldn’t be tolerated. However, Aaron gained his trust, put words in his mouth, got him to agree, and ran back to the news station to pull out the phrases that he was wanted in order to throw flames on the fire. It’s shameful, irresponsible, slanted journalism. I hear bashing of teachers, yet no teacher has been even interviewed. There is an anti-bullying committee in Melcher-Dallas who had a meeting during Aaron’s second visit to town…yet none of them were interviewed or if they were, received no air time. My fear is that this boy, who needs special attention and understanding has now been set out on the curb for public consumption. Shame on you WHO!!!!

  • Murilo Venturini(Sao Paulo - Brazil)

    It seems to me that most school board do not care about this problem that has affected many schools = bullying.

    Principal Josh Ehn actually said it is the students’ responsibility to handle cases of bullying. WRONG Mr. Ehn… This is the school responsibility to give students a good and peaceful environment.

    I hope Levi’s mother finds the best way of solving this issue.

  • Renee Pope

    Find it rather ironic to discover Levi Weatherly has an autistic step-son, if anyone should know more about my nephew Levi Null’s condition it should be someone that sees it first hand everyday. Shame on you Levi Weatherly for your interview saying Levi brings 3/4 of it on himself and not understanding a disability your own step-son has and your son for posting a video on Facebook about an autistic child when his brother is autistic!!!

  • stopthebashing

    This is the dark side of social media (if there is even in fact a bright side). People can “out” anybody for their weaknesses, diseases, inadequacies, blunders (sometimes innocent), etc, stereotype an entire town, and attack people they don’t even know. Every time I see the media drag a small town or school’s business into the public eye, I have great empathy, and I do not think that whatever negative events happened are reflective of an entire school or town.

    We have not only stigmatized the child in the story by making him public fodder, but we have now labeled and dragged another child’s private diagnosis/business into the public eye. I can’t think of anything more disrespectful and upsetting to parents of special needs children. Why do we think it’s okay to throw around labels and diagnoses when it is really confidential health information? Shameful. I’m done. Thanks so much TV 13 for the “healthy” dialogue over a critically important issue.

    • NT mom

      But ya can’t have it both ways StoptheBashing. I agree that this entire situation has gottnen way out of control.

      But…..You are saying that the diagnosis shouldn’t be public…but….we are expecting everyone to treat ASD or Aspie children differently. We are expected to excuse their misbehavior because they don’t know any differently. No disrespect meant here, by ‘treating them differently’ I mean understanding their emotional/social challenges and the reactions that come with them better and handle them appropriately.

      Then you have to tell people that they don’t know any better and can’t help the fact that they don’t know any better.
      An ASD mom commented earlier that ASD is an invisible disability. They are normally very intelligent people. Their disability is in their handling of social situations. Most of the time, they appear ‘normal’ /’typical’/’average'(again, no offense meant, just pointing out the ‘invisibility’ of this disorder) If you don’t know that a person is ASD, their reactions CAN look like a child just being naughty. People have mentioned that their child withdraws. So…if I don’t know that they are ASD, I assume they have just ‘zoned out’ and are daydreaming. An NT child would be reprimanded for that,. If I don’t know that you are ASD and you get overstimulated and start to scream, you are probably going to get reprimanded for being a disruption. I (teachers/classmates/etc) need to know the situation if they are to react to it properly.

      I have learned a lot reading these blogs. I have a greater understanding of ASD. I still think that steps need to be taken to protect NT children from physical violence during an outburst. You can overlook a lot, but, no child deserves to be injured, even if the one causing the injury has a disability.

      • AspieMom

        I think you misunderstood. First, Asperger’s is invisible in the sense that it is not physically visible, like a wheelchair. But it is visible in the sense that it is very easy to tell when someone has it if you know what it looks like. Most people who have no personal experience with Asperger’s, however, can tell something about the person does not fit (hence, the bullying), but they do not know what it is and mistakenly assume the generally bright kid is saying all the wrong things on purpose.

        Another term for Asperger’s is mind blindness–an inability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. My Aspie son once told a friend of mine he had a very big head. He was not being rude. He just didn’t understand that you cannot tell people everything you are thinking. When I used to drive my ex-husband with Asperger’s home (before we knew what AS was), he would get out of the car and close the door without saying thank you or goodbye. Once I explained to him that social conventions call for him to do that, he never forgot again.

        It is not always easy to tell that someone has Asperger’s if you don’t know what it is, but it is pretty clear that these other students were picking on this kid because they thought something was different about him even if they lacked a word for it. How is that justifiable?

        No one said neurotypical kids should not react if someone calls them a name or hits them, but whether the person doing it has Asperger’s or not, the way to handle that is not to antagonize the person and hit him. A kid with Asperger’s might not yet have the skills to deal with the bullying in a mature way (socially, they can be years behind) and might respond by calling names or throwing something, but a neurotypical kid really does know better. They just choose not to behave properly.

  • Peyton

    Levi Weatherly is a disgusting wasted of human protoplasm. No one deserves to be harassed the way that poor boy was harassed.

  • cindy

    The principal of this school should be fired, as well as the school board that condones this stupidity. This child should be protected, not ridiculed.

  • momofchris

    As the mother of a 20 year old with Aspergers I know too well how cruel kids can be when you are ‘different’. They find buttons to push just so they can see how he will react. And then when they don’t like what happens, they tell on him. Alot of the time it’s a game. Fortunately we had awesome administrators and teachers. I’m not saying my son was not at fault in some cases, but at least he knew enough to say I did it and I’m sorry. Our kids should NOT be in ‘special’ schools just because they are different. People with Aspergers are more intelligent than some people could only imagine. I have said since the beginning of our journey with Aspergers (which began before Internet and was hard to learn anything about) Knowledge is POWER! The more you can understand why they do what they do, the more you might realize that they’re not that much different that you or I.

  • Rusty Weeks

    Well, all that could be said seems to be said, but this is a problem when you “pass the buck.” It is the principal who says if it is bullying or not? Who is he to say what hurts a child’s feelings, and what doesn’t. It is up to the students in the class, and not the responsibility of the teacher’s. Wow. That is not what I am learning in my education classes. The Teacher is in charge, not the students. Any time that a child does not feel safe at school, that is a problem. As for hitting the kid? What are you nuts? If the kid did not hit him, there is no reason for him to hit the kid that called him a name. Why did he call him a name? What was the other kid doing to him? You think of that? I was called a lot of things in my life, but it takes self control to stop yourself from hitting someone. No one should condone violence! No one!

    • Outraged Iowan

      If you read the account of the adult that saw Jamie’s nephew hit Levi, it does say that the boys tried to talk to Levi first, Levi tried to run the nephew over with his bike and called him a pretty vulgar name (perhaps people should be a little more careful of the language they use around a child who doesn’t have a filter). that is when Levi was hit. Still not a good situation, but, the nephew didn’t just walk up to Levi and punch him out of the blue or anything like everyone wants to make it sound.

      • BullyHater

        Oh, you mean the adult who didn’t have the cajones to step in amongst a group of 7th graders? Yeah, I’m really gonna believe HIS story.

  • Ann

    Really, what kind of Town is this. Too justify these kids behavior is just WRONG, and for the parent, principal and anyone else who does NOT protect this boy is beyond unbelievable to say the least. When Adults, justify any kind of bullying activity, by anyone, towards anyone, in any instant it’s WRONG!!!!! What is Up with you People!!!!

  • Marthastew

    So what if the kid had Tourettes’ Syndrome and uncontrollably called the student an expletive, and the student punched him, is the principal saying that would be okay as well? All the adults are spineless morons and the weak-minded idiot [parroting the principal is just covering his behind. It’s obvious that the district doesn’t have (or doesn’t want to supply) the resources for a school for special needs students. That being said, the teachers and administrators should be required to take a course or two on how to educate these mainstreamed students. Otherwise, they should be prepared to become the subject of a lawsuit violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

  • Proud Alumnus of the Melcher-Dallas School System

    Love is patient…This is one of the many godly traits I learned growing up in Melcher-Dallas. I patiently read through in the last few days of a TV station describing our town, and I hope I was the first of thousands to think, THIS IS NOT MY MELCHER-DALLAS! My patience (or silence, if you care) stopped when someone called our community “Ungodly.” God (and, yes, football :) ) was first and foremost to families and our community. Love is kind…Several times, I was the recipient of financial gifts from the community when the need was there; never to find out who the giver was. What has been reported first, giving the public the avenue to unfairly draw conclusions and bash the other 99% of the people in this town, is not kind; may I say it is irresponsible, and is NOT MY MELCHER-DALLAS. Love never fails…Year after year when I return to my little hometown, I witness group after group organizing functions, events, fund-raising for the good of the community, the school district, and their respective churches; without fail. THIS IS MY MELCHER-DALLAS! Love does not rejoice in what is wrong, but rejoices in the truth. I urge you, WHO, to find the truth in your reporting without using the sensationalistic tactics that I have seen used during the reporting of this story. Report what would everyone should see, MY MELCHER-DALLAS. Step back and find the real heart of the community. I can tell you that it is definitely there! I feel it every time I visit, from the people who never forget me or to smile at me and remember me just like I was as a child .I feel it from the solid education that I received and that I use every day; and, from my family members who have happily entrenched themselves further into this community to experience the sports history, town spirit and Saint Pride. And, from the great people that I have met who have made Melcher-Dallas their home since I left–all of is where the love exists…and the heart of the story. I challenge you, WHO, to take up this story and report the real Melcher-Dallas, not just the surface. Find MY MELCHER-DALLAS. There are, in the end, three things that last: faith, happiness, and love, and the greatest of the three are love. I learned all of them there.; especially love. (Oh, and feel free to quote me; and I’m sure God will be okay with it, also).

  • Amanda Guyton

    Bullying is NEVER EVER justified. I don’t care WHAT you think the child did not did not do. You don’t bullying him, and you don’t let your kids bully him. Such blatant, mean ignorance to think it is EVER Ok to bullying another human being, EVER. How would you like it if it was done to you? No? THEN DON’T DO IT TO ANYONE ELSE.

    Note the period, there. No exceptions.

  • Rob Behr

    Hi Folks, I am a successful autistic adult who grew up in a sequel-piggy Iowa hick factory town, Clinton. In grade school, I regularly got the crap beaten out of me. If I defended myself, the teachers would scold me saying “It takes two to fight.” Thus, I was blamed for turning an acceptable beating into an unacceptable fight. As an adult autistic in Iowa, I was continually subjected to what Iowans call “$h!t”, which means they entertained themselves by trying to frustrate and degrade me. If I pleaded “Please don’t give me a hard time. This isn’t funny,” they typically respond “It ain’t funny for you, and that’s why it’s funny for me,” which is an expression of the squeal-piggy paradigm – feeling satisfaction from the suffering of another. Iowa is not a great place to be autistic. One of the smartest things I’ve done in my life was getting getting out of Iowa. For you with autistic children, some cultures are better than others.

    While there are certainly exceptional Iowans, the video depicts the general mindset and cultural norm of Iowa.

    This is what is most distressing – I was born in 1955, and here we are, almost sixty years later, with the only change being the arrival of so called “restorative justice”, which treats the offender as the victim.

    I suppose you can understand that I am a huge advocate of inclusive online resources for home schooling that are entirely independent of local schools. If the family in the video wants to stay in Iowa, public schools are clearly not a viable solution.

    Again, for those of you with autistic children, consider the cultural alternatives. Imagine a remake of “Field of Dreams” with autistic children. When one of the autistic kids asks “Is this Hell?”, the response is “No, this is Iowa.”

    • Outraged Iowan

      wow, Rob, thank you for condemning our entire state! For each person who picked on you, or is bullying someone else, there are a lot of us, here in Iowa, that are volunteering at our schools, helping out at our churches, working at food banks, donating to the salvation army, opening our homes to people who have no where else to go. One of my son’s best friends just happens to be an Aspie. I’ve never seen him mistreated or bullied. He plays on the football team, is in advanced math and has many, many friends. Right here in IOWA!

      I thought ASD’s weren’t vindictive? I’m sorry you were mistreated, it doesn’t mean that ALL Iowans are that way. I’m going to give other ASD’s the benefit of the doubt and assume that they aren’t all as harsh and spiteful as you are!

      • Rob Behr

        Read what I wrote – “While there are certainly exceptional Iowans, the video depicts the general mindset and cultural norm of Iowa.” You took what is a proportionally qualified post and maximized it into the absolute statement, “ALL Iowans”. Then, you objected to your own distortion, rather than my actual statement.

        Providing an accurate portrayal, based on life experience, to concerned caring parents so they can use that information for the benefit of their vulnerable children, is not “harsh”, “spiteful”, or “vindictive.”

      • outraged iowan

        Rob, my apologies, you are right, you didn’t condemn the entire state (although, referring to it as H*ll seems a little condemning). You did however, state that the attitude you experienced is the norm. I think you are wrong! I think that is a harsh statement. I think most Iowans are good people. That is why we have so many people who have moved here from other states, and even other countries (in my small company alone, I have coworkers from Laos, India, Australia, Vietnam, China and Bosnia among others). These people certainly aren’t moving here for the wonderful weather (as experienced last night in the form of freezing rain). They aren’t moving here for the incredible night life. Nope…must be the people. We have friends from Chicago who moved here because they didn’t want to raise their family in Chicago.
        I am sorry that you have been mistreated. I feel bad for anyone who is mistreated. It’s wrong no matter why it is happening: they are ASD, they wear glasses, they are fat, they are too smart, they aren’t smart enough, they aren’t good athletes.
        I maintain that most Iowans are good people though.

    • Rob Behr

      As a quick note for parents of high-functioning autistic kids, I’ve got a BS and MS in Computer Science, worked for years as a consultant, and I have a lot of Fortune 100 companies on my resume. I own two nice homes and have the toys. Life is good. Being autistic is not a dead end. Your autistic kids have a much better chance of thriving if they live where being different is seen as a possible asset, rather than bad or wrong. Environment is a huge factor. Finding the right place is a bit like working a maze – you make a lot of turns and sometimes back up.

      I’m what is considered “different,” as opposed to “disabled.” Lucky, most of my left-side deficiencies were compensated for in the right side of my brain, which is the part that continuously learns. So, I am gifted with unusual analytical and creative problem solving capabilities. I wouldn’t give my gifts away to be normal. And, I’m not the only autistic person who does not want to be cured.

      • Rob Behr

        Hi Honeysuckle, I’ve never been married. I’ve had plenty of girlfriends and some long-term relationships. My primary autistic characteristics are in the area of non-verbal communication. In particular, I have no communication capability via facial expressions or tone-of-voice. Since most warm and fuzzy romantic communication is non-verbal and I don’t have that capability, my relationships are usually lots of fun, but never lead to marriage. The girl’s complaint is a general lack of passion. My voice is generally described as somewhere between Mr. Spock and the scripted style used by Paul Jr. on “American Chopper.” Imagine that sort of voice saying “You make that dress look good.” Or, imagine you look at your boyfriend with loving eyes, and he looks back with an entirely blank expression – he doesn’t get the message, so he has no response, but what you see is cold indifference. That is one example of why we are often seen as uncaring, lacking empathy, and unemotional. Among autistics, it’s sometimes called “the boy in the bubble” effect.

  • Steven

    bullies should be sent to a bully devils island where they can spend the rest of their lives *issing each other off..! they are just growing up to be even worse and make other miserable through their whole lives..

  • Marie

    Seriously? The people at the school have to be so ignorant to their surroundings. As professionals, it is their job both teachers/administrators to be able to ensure the safety of children as they attend school. Also it should be their job, if they have a student with a diagnosis like Levi’s, to become better educated on that subject. That is what makes good teachers in schools. As far as students taking on the role to protect Levi, lets get real, kids are cruel and want to fit in as they are finding themselves in the trying times of high school years. I think that the parents and school officials are very wrong in their approach about Levi and his family. Autism is a mystery even to professionals trained to handle different people that have varying levels of it. Is it easy to understand? No. Should people learn more about it? Yes. People with autism usually have a higher than normal IQ Level, just their pragmatics may be a little off depending on he severity. Any of those parents who say that this child “deserved the bullying” are very low on the evolutionary scale to me.

  • Normal Iowan

    This news report has been shown in classrooms at the college level this week, and is being taught as an example of how a school should NOT handle situations like this. A principal that says that it is the kids responsibility to deal with bullying instead of faculty members is completely wrong.

    • Nice thought

      I wasn’t there, don’t know the whole situation, even if I had been, I can’t read the principals mind.
      I keep hearing his comment about not bullying needs to start with the kids being taken as a cop out for the adults, people saying he is laying it all on the kids and the adults have no responsibility.

      Do you suppose, there is any chance at all, was that what he was trying to say is that the kids can help stop bullying by their actions?

      Generally, when a child, or adult for that matter, is bullying someone, they aren’t by themselves. More often than not, bullies run in groups. quite often bullying is done as a way to ‘show off’ for the bully’s friends.

      If a child is bullying another child, and kids laugh, that encourages the bully. If a child is bullying another child, and the other kids either say ‘gee that isnt’ right’ and stand up for the bullied child, together as a group, or at the very least, don’t encourage the bully, that can really suck the wind out of the bully’s sails. doesn’t always work, but, it does a lot of times.

      Seriously, how often do you see a bully bullying someone when the bully is alone?

      so….maybe, the principal was saying that if the kids didn’t encourage the bullying, that would help. Couldn’t hurt, could it?

  • M.O.

    You know, while I see both sides of this coin to an extent – No child should have to fear ill treatment because of the fact that they can’t control their bahevior due to a condition, no child should have his condition displayed on a video for everyone to see and make fun of. Are we missing the point here? WHat was the intent of this video? To help or to harm. Yes, there needs to be education for the community of this and other conditions that should be understood and empathized for. Yes, mom needs to also ensure that since her child does have a condition that he may not be able to possibly control all his actions, she needs to make sure he is safe and those around him are safe. Plenty of blame to go around but it seems everyone wants to point the finger and deflect the blame here. Still, it is never appropriate to post such malicious content about another child to humiliate and demean them. It is never OK to punch or hit another person who calls you a name. When do we start teaching our children to react responsibliy and with class??

    • Nora Gainey

      Wrong is wrong and these people are wrong. Why can’t they see it??

      Perhaps they would tease a person who can’t see or walk too? Punch em when they say things they don’t like. I can think of nasty things to call them too but I’m not a kid who has been pushed to the edge so i will control myself. I lived this as a child. It results in PTSD on top of Aspergers.

    • lifelong md resident

      yes but the kids involved in the video were punished.. she has just taken this out of context and ran with it… she has been looking for a reason to sue anyone for anything… thats how her and her family work. Our community does not allow bullying. She is a system abuser, and it is showing…..

  • Cranston Snord (@BostonSnob)

    Leave it to a bunch of rubes from a backwater state to be perfectly wrong, hateful, and mentally unbalanced. If this were my son and he was being bullied like this, I would have made sure criminal charges were filed already.

    Enjoy your lives in the third world.

    • outraged iowan

      what about the damage this child has done to vehicles, etc, with his rock throwing? Is anyone responsible for that?
      Or, are only ‘normal’ people responsible for their actions in Boston?

  • Autism Mom

    Jamie-karma will come around
    Outraged Iowan…it’s obvious that you have no idea what autism is or you wouldn’t have responded to Rob the way you did.
    -Educate yourself, raise awareness and be accepting-

    • outraged Iowan

      You don’t think referring to Iowa as ‘H*ll’ was a little harsh? I don’t see how being better educated about autism would make me see that as a subtle statement? And, if you read Rob’s other post, he is obviously very well adjusted, I think he totally understood the comment he made and the effect he would have on people..in fact, I think he HOPED for it to be a shocking, offensive comment.

      • Rob Behr

        outraged Iowan’s interpretation of my motives is worth addressing. He doesn’t like what I said, so to him, what I said is wrong and ill-intended.

        Yes, I am well-adjusted. And, there are many areas of the country where I have virtually no problems. Iowa is one of the areas with a culture that tends to do exactly what outraged Iowan did, he resents and vilified a differing perspective using himself as the exclusive reference.

        Consider this metaphor – Someone with severe allergies to pollens moves to Iowa, a region filled with pollens half of each year. For that person, Iowa may be termed as “allergy Hell.” Clearly, my use of the term “Hell” is in the context of autistic experience.

        Keep in mind, an autistic person, especially a child, presents an opportunity for those who are bullies. The local culture either provides, or not, the social latitude for bullying. If you have no vulnerability, then everything seems fine and your personal experience supports that. However, if you are vulnerable, bullies will use the full latitude afforded by the environment. Yes, bullies are everywhere. The most critical difference is the latitude provided by the local culture. The video clearly shows that the community and school system provides tremendous latitude. Such is my general experience in Iowa – bullies are in the minority, but they have the passive support, and sometimes the encouragement, of the general community.

        Again, having personal life experience to support my position, I offered a perspective that parents might use to benefit their autistic children. Caring parents usually consider the unusual characteristics of their children – that is how parents help a child with differing challenges and differing talents to be successful. An environment that fundamentally opposes their child is not the best, when viable alternatives exist.

      • Roz

        Outraged Iowan, you and your ilk are making Iowa sound worse and worse. I had no idea that Iowa was such a nasty state.

  • Jim G.

    As the parent of a now adult high-functioning autistic son, I find the behavior of the PARENTS to be disgusting. How are their children supposed to learn compassion, if there’s no teaching at home?!?

    I’m also surprised that a (supposedly) trained educator would essentially CONDONE bullish behavior. The two students who were among the chief instigators were disciplined for “intolerance and bigotry”, but not bullying. The things that make you go: “Hmm”…

  • hose

    I just want to give the person who called the media a big thank you. they just exposed a big problem in the melcher school that need to be taken care of. .

  • Proud Alumnus of the Melcher-Dallas School System

    Love is patient…This is one of the many godly traits I learned growing up in Melcher-Dallas. I patiently read through in the last few days of a TV station describing our town, and I hope I was the first of thousands to think, THIS IS NOT MY MELCHER-DALLAS! My patience (or silence, if you care) stopped when someone called our community “Ungodly.” God (and, yes, football :) ) was first and foremost to families and our community. Love is kind…Several times, I was the recipient of financial gifts from the community when the need was there; never to find out who the giver was. What has been reported first, giving the public the avenue to unfairly draw conclusions and bash the other 99% of the people in this town, is not kind; may I say it is irresponsible, and is NOT MY MELCHER-DALLAS. Love never fails…Year after year when I return to my little hometown, I witness group after group organizing functions, events, fund-raising for the good of the community, the school district, and their respective churches; without fail. THIS IS MY MELCHER-DALLAS! Love does not rejoice in what is wrong, but rejoices in the truth. I urge you, WHO, to find the truth in your reporting without using the sensationalistic tactics that I have seen used during the reporting of this story. Report what would everyone should see, MY MELCHER-DALLAS. Step back and find the real heart of the community. I can tell you that it is definitely there! I feel it every time I visit, from the people who never forget me or to smile at me and remember me just like I was as a child .I feel it from the solid education that I received and that I use every day; and, from my family members who have happily entrenched themselves further into this community to experience the sports history, town spirit and Saint Pride. And, from the great people that I have met who have made Melcher-Dallas their home since I left–all of is where the love exists…and the heart of the story. I challenge you, WHO, to take up this story and report the real Melcher-Dallas, not just the surface. Find MY MELCHER-DALLAS. There are, in the end, three things that last: faith, happiness, and love, and the greatest of the three are love. I learned all of them there.; especially love. (Oh, and feel free to quote me; and I’m sure God will be okay with it, also).

    • jackknife319

      We’re not bashing your d*mn town, we’re bashing the sick display of insensitivity and the lack human decency for this principal to not own up to his failure of making the school a safe place for all, not just for the jocks and rich kids. What a failure of tenure to not protect the most vulnerable among us!! Instead of standing up for your town when it is unnecessary, maybe stand-up against your hometown High School’s culture of entitlement and self-supposed sense of superiority for the chosen few, and stand up for justice and accountability.

      • Proud Alumnus of the Melcher-Dallas School System

        Jacknife: You completely missed my point, which was that WHO-TV reported the story of just a few people, sensationally, and, from what I read from posts of the community, did not report all of the pertinent facts; giving a false-sense of what the school and the community stand for. I challenge them to report the full story with all of the facts and observe responsible journalism, not sensationalizing facts that boost ratings.

      • lifelong md resident

        I dont believe she went through all of the proper channels with the school system to make them aware of her childs disablity and to get him the proper help, so she is also to blame here….

  • Katherine Hott

    All the country-bashing just shows more ignorance. These are not a “hillbilly town” problems. These are problems everywhere.

    1. lack of compassion
    2. this fun scenario: socially normative people of all ages need to offer specialized responses to special needs people, without being told that they are special needs, or having the tools and skills necessary to recognize that they are special needs

  • The_Saxon

    Just curious, would “Cole” have clocked “Levi” in the mouth after being called a nasty name if “Levi” was actually a 225 Lb. ripped linebacker named “Marquan” or “DeShon”?? I teach martial arts to kids part-time and if I heard one of my students had done that under those circumstances I would kick him out of the club permanently. Yeah Cole, you’re a real tough guy. I hope to g-d you never have kids to pass on your family’s warped values or troglodyte, inbred genes. Punk.

  • Dave Sandman

    I got here through a hyperlink from a UK newspaper. That is how bad, how horrific, how utterly disgusting this bullying and the excusing it gets from some is considered in the UK.
    Congratulations Melcher-Dallas, you are now internationally infamous as the town where kids are encouraged to bully and beat up disabled kids by relatives and fellow townspeople who encourage their actions. Your school is now internationally famous as being a home for the worst type of bullies, and whose craven Principle has no principles at all.
    There are a lot of words that come to mind when I read these articles, but unfortunately almost all are unprintable here. If in any way you defended these disgusting actions you should be ashamed. I am unable to express my contempt and disgust adequately without falling into the common vernacular.
    To the others who like me are disgusted with the way the Principle and his school board have handled this may I suggest that you contact the local school district authorities and Superintendent or their equivalent and ask that this matter is properly dealt with. Point out that the UK media both TV and print are having a whale of a time with this story.
    An online YouTube report on this by a US based news team already has over 20,000 views in less than one hour.
    The world is watching now…….

  • Scot

    Intriguing how there is debate going on about a child being bullied and quite a lot of you are hitting back by name calling. Hypocritical if you ask me.

    • jackknife319

      Yeah!!! LOL!!! Isn’t that funny?? You make a disabled child in school a public whipping boy, post it on youtube with everyone laughing, have a hunchback hog-sh*t shoveler say it’s the kid’s fault, have an entire community turn a blind eye, and now people from all around the world are calling you names, calling you out as an entire town of poor parenting, poor educating, heartless scum-bags and all you have to say is: “It’s hypocritical.” More like KARMA!!! Or POETIC JUSTICE!!

    • AQ

      Yes, because you should have been allowed to continue the bullying with impunity. Riiiight.

      IOWA: Idiots Out Walking Around — and the parents of the Melcher-Dallas school district are living proof of that!

  • MissCityGirl

    Mrs. Levi should contact an experienced attorney, ideally not in her immediate area (to avoid conflict on interests) and sue for intentional/ negligent infliction of emotional distress, harassment, battery, and under the state’s anti-bullying law.

    It is obvious that the principal and school board are clueless or powerless to take affirmative action to end this abuse on a disabled child! Disgusting.

  • NA

    dgalvin@melcher-dallas.k12.ia.us – The school district’s superintendent’s email. It’s on the school’s website. As a mother, I would not take my child being bullied or being a bully. And so I will send a letter to the superintendent hoping they address this issue going forward and hope others write letters as well.

    • Proud Alumnus of the Melcher-Dallas School System

      Question to ponder…which bullying and by whom are you wanting to address?

  • funnyfaceking

    That father’s statement that he was proud of his boy for “cole cocking” him is independent verification of assault. Forget the principal. Go to the prosecutor.

    • Proud Alumnus of the Melcher-Dallas School System

      Consider this while we are all thinking about this. Could the “little sign” of tolerance be because all facts have not been reported? Could have the reporting of both sides made the story different? Isn’t the end goal here to help the child instead of condemning the few people who were shown on TV?

  • Judy McAllister

    The thing that stands out the most for me in this report, when we begin to feel proud of our children for hitting, for reasons of spoken words….and not being able to walk away. We are encouraging more violence. Also, I will never understand our inability to except each others differences. When we stop worrying about blame and start looking at our problems and concerns as a group and how do we want to repair such damage….only then will we gain.

    • 4TimesAYear

      Totally agree – verbal abuse needs to be dealt with in an appropriate manner and there are ways of dealing with it without physically assaulting someone.

  • Nice thought

    I think you are right, Proud Alumnus. We have only been told the things that some of those people involved wanted us to hear. Considering this small town in Iowa (I am very proud to be from a small town in Iowa by the way) is now being bashed by people around the globe, I think this story, or partial story, got away from the people that started it.

    • Proud Alumnus of the Melcher-Dallas School System

      Agreed. The story obviously “got away.” Now it’s WHO-TV’s responsibility to go back and report all of the facts. A Journalists’ ethics should include impartially reporting a story. Let’s applaud WHO when this happens! Let’s help instead of condemning.

      • J. Morgan

        Seriously, they gave everyone accused air time. All they had to do is say, “hey, we made a mistake”. The principle basically said he isn’t responsible for doing his job, the superintendent sat there like fool while his wife got nasty, and the father of one of the accused kids said he deserved it.

        Your lucky they didn’t interview more people.

        If your town is so worthy of your corny poetry, where are the rallies of support for Levi. Where is the local outrage over these people?

  • 4TimesAYear

    Jaimie Harrison, being called a nasty name is not cause for physical violence. The one is simply verbal abuse, the other is physical assault. There wouldn’t be half the violence there is if people would learn how to deal with verbal abuse in an appropriate manner. I highly recommend Vistelar.

  • CAEducator

    The parents of these bullies need to take responsibility for their child’s actions and stop blaming the victim of this violence. Furthermore, they should be ashamed of the statement made in this news segment. It is unforgiveable to condone violence in any form and to actually state that a child with a disability is to blame for being mistreated by others is aweful. SHAME ON YOU!!

  • Proud Alumnus of the Melcher-Dallas School System

    You do understand that these Jr. High students were punished under the “Intolerance and Biogtry” statue and that it just wasn’t classified, per sec, as “Bullying?” Personally, I think it would rather be labeled a bully than a bigot, although, it’s a close race.

  • Lori Fox

    I can’t believe the comments I have just read. One person called him retarded. Another person said he deserved it. The principle says it’s not bullying. Let’s get real. Bullying is any action that is consistent and tears down anyones self esteem. How about we call the principle stupid everday. Would that be called bullying and the neighbor that says he deserves it, should we blast an air horn in their window every morning to just be mean and say we’re only kidding. Children with any type of disability are even more susceptible to bullying because they are unable to defend themselves. Shame on all of you.

  • Very Concerned

    Dawn Simmons states:
    “all these kids saying Levi bullied them I’m not saying he didn’t there is Never an excuse for anyone hitting another student period .”

    “never did I say he was perfect”

    “I’m not saying my son is innocent”

    “I never said to anyone my son was innocent”

    “I’m NOT saying he is innocent”

    Dawn Simmons also states that her son:
    “has a phycitrist and a counsellor that he sees regularly”
    “takes meds on a regular basic”
    “has help mama since he was 7yrs old”

    Mr. Aaron Brilbeck, reporter for the WHO Channel 13 News Station failed to investigate, follow-up, or report on many facts of this story.

    Mr. Aaron Brilbeck’s inept “coverage” assured that the residents and students of this town would be lashed unmercifully locally. Unfortunately his “reporting” received national attention.

    From the following statements of students and residents, you might be able to distinguish:

    – that multiple times of being suspended from school by the school – and grounded by his Mother – is not helping or teaching Levi Null.

    My personal opinion is that Levi’s parents have refused to accept that ‘mainstreaming’ Levi in a school system is a failure. I believe there are better teaching environments for Levi.

    The statements and facts below are what a competent reporter should have discovered and reported on:

    The video put online was showing Levi picking his nose in the lunch room.
    *** this was not stated in the WHO Channel 13 report.

    The student who put the video online was punished according to school policy and by his parents.
    *** this was not stated in the follow-up report by WHO Channel 13.

    The Junior High students received training on (I assume 11-15) according to ‘Karen’ on 11-19: “the Junior High was given training on Friday about what it is like to have autisim.”
    ***this was not included in any of the WHO Channel 13 reports.

    The student who cold-cocked (corrected term of his Aunt’s) Levi was punished. An eye witness to this ‘cold-cocking’ has stated “Levi was taunting all the kids up in the park that day. He call another kid a f****n N**ger, your nephew and a friend of his wanted to talk to levi about calling others names, and try to tell him to stop, and levi was on his bike and tryed to run your nephew over with his bike and your nephew picked up the bike tire and moved it so it wouldnt hit him and levi said, “oh is that the way its gunna be you P***Y.”
    ***The Aunt’s statement was not fully reported by WHO Channel 13.

    Evidently, the incidents between these 2 students was ongoing, because Dawn Simmons (Levi’s Mother) states “Ask Jen (the nephew’s Mother) who told her to tell the principal what Levi done to her son”.

    Dawn Simmons (Levi’s Mother) also stated “for weeks we was in that office everyday” – (referring to the principal’s office); and “I have a letter from the principal proving that my son has been suspended and in trouble many times for mistakes he makes”

    Levi Null has brought bullets to school and threatened to shoot other students. Dawn Simmons states “as far as bullets were empty shell casings ha enough from his dad’s home that he hid in his bag when he shown the kid the school took them he was suspended for 2 days and he was grounded at home”
    ***this was not included in any of the WHO Channel 13 reports.

    There are multiple instances over approximately 2 years history of children being threatened, hit, bullied, chased, and rock throwing BY LEVI in various places of the town.
    ***which shows me that Levi is unsupervised and does not have an adult with him, including instances happening during the evening.

    A MD student has stated “He has told me and many other people to go kill themselves.”
    ***this was not included in any of the WHO Channel 13 reports.

    Another MD student has stated “says he’s going to kill people and even threatened to me that he wold kill my mom with a sniper rifle.”
    ***this was not included in any of the WHO Channel 13 reports.

    Levi’s Mother refers to some of these instances by stating “My son isn’t allowed up town because it causes . Problems”
    *** but the date is unknown when she decided to not allow him to go ‘up town’, or whether Levi is adhering to that rule.

    Levi Null has had a history of being in the judicial courts, the amount of times is unclear, but his mother has stated there was 2 different properties involved. Dawn Simmons states “the bus barn and house the were taken care by police and courts”
    ***this was not included in any of the WHO Channel 13 reports.

    Several phone calls during this summer have been made to the police for an out of control teen.
    ***this was not included in any of the WHO Channel 13 reports.

    The town of MD has a committee to address bullying. According to ‘Be Positive’: “There is an anti-bullying committee in Melcher-Dallas who had a meeting during Aaron’s (WHO Channel 13 Reporter) second visit to town”
    ***This was not mentioned in the follow-up WHO Channel 13 report.

    The latest post online by Dawn Blubaugh Simmons is: “I wanna give a huge shout out to the Melcher-Dallas students who have been amazing this week the kids have not bullied and many have apologized and they have really stepped up to show this community how we should stick together and make awareness to this and be adults about it. WAY TO GO -November 20 at 11:34am
    *** This statement was not mentioned in the follow-up reported by WHO Channel 13.

  • Very Disgusted

    Apparently, there is little knowledge of autism (especially Asperger’s) in this “community.” Perhaps, people should be more educated and a little more understanding of what this young man goes through on a daily basis. Yes, he may have called names to people, but violence and being hateful is not the answer. Two wrongs do not make a right.

    These parents saying that a 13 year-old child “brings it upon himself” are encouraging their children’s disgusting behavior. What happened to the days of making people responsible for their actions? Also, telling your children that they are justified in retaliation (especially physical harm) is disgusting! Violence is never an answer to a problem. Instead of throwing accusations and encouraging such behavior, become a “community” and support each other.

    Also, (as I just saw in a comment), just because there is an “anit-bullying committee” in Melcher-Dallas doesn’t mean it’s not going on. Teachers, parents, and students need to step-up and face this problem. Ganging up on one person (especially one with Aspergers) is cowardly, unfair, and ridiculous.

  • Very Concerned

    Evidently you have a very narrow view of a situation without taking everything into consideration.

    Did you not read my post?

    Can you not comprehend what some of those statements would lead to for a full as possible opinon?

    For your information, the anti-bullying committee is around a year old, it wasn’t formed just because of this situation.

    There is a privacy issue. Schools cannot inform or educate students about another’s conditions without a parent’s consent. That consent was only 3 days before the original report by WHO……although Levi has been a ‘problem’ for the school and children (on and off school grounds and at night) for nearly 2 years.

    Levi’s mother admits to his aggression with this quote:
    “”all these kids saying Levi bullied them I’m not saying he didn’t there is Never an excuse for anyone hitting another student period .”

  • Very Concerned

    NO – there is never an excuse for bullying, and there is never an excuse for anyone hitting another student – according to Levi’s mother – and according to my beliefs

    …….yet, Levi is still in a ‘mainstreamed’ education system after he has had a history of 2 years (also with the Iowa Judical System) of not being able to adjust to a ‘mainstreamed’ education

    ……and in fact disrupting the school system and making it very hard for the other students to be in a positive learning environment.

  • Very Concerned

    You know, after 9 days of reading national and international comments it occurs to me that:

    At least 90% of the ‘over 10k’ comments are knee jerk reactions.

    Knee Jerk reactions, taking what is reported (gee, it’s on a news station, so it must be true!).

    80% of those 90% are biased and already have an opinion with any report that’s tagged ‘BULLY’ or ‘BULLYING’ –

    – they base their comments on their experiences. MANY with hatred and hurtful names to describe their feelings and opinions, completely forgetting what was reported in the chance to tell their story and their ‘expertise’.

    5% of the whole are just looking to spew their view.

    4.5% want to find out what can be done for the situation.

    .05% wants to delve into all of the ‘particulars’ and available ‘facts’, because they’re concerned and want to help, but without ‘particulars’ and ‘facts’ they feel that they cannot be fully equiped to help.

  • BP

    Thank you, Very Concerned. If only Channel 13 would fire Aaron and hire you, then maybe the world could see the whole story. Until then, we get to hear knee jerk reactions to irresponsible reporting.

  • HELLO

    What the hell is happening to our Country!!!??? This sickens me to know that a pos dad would blame his sons actions on the kid who was picked on. No wonder our kids are so cruel – they are learning it from their own homes!!! As a Mother of a 14 year old Asperger’s child it makes me want to spit nails when I see how badly my child was treated in school. After fighting for years and years we finally moved!!! Thankfully he is doing much better. So sad.

  • ProudAspie

    To all those here who are exuberantly saying that Levi shares any blame, I understand why you feel that way. However, having a great deal of insight into the mind of an Aspie, and what the likely causes are, I can say with certainty that he is blameless. Please be kinder to kids like him.

    To his family, try this little exercise: Ask him if he’s figured out something that all the adult experts he knows say is wrong, but he’s still sure he’s got it right. When he says yes, tell him you’ll give him two hours of undivided attention and let him make his case. Take good notes.

    If you can get an expert to teach him critical thinking skills, and then use that to improve his explanation for the next several iterations, that would be even better.

    Also, suggest to him that if he increases his eye contact to about 80% (instead of 5-10%), he should be able to notice people’s emotions better. Tell him this is a simple pattern-recognition exercise.

    And have him read all of Richard Feynman’s autobiographies.

  • cowboysfan

    proudaspi wrote: I can say with certainty that he is blameless

    ARE YOU FOR REAL? have you read any of the post? I’m sure the parents will jump on this exercise.. hahahahahahaha

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