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.”
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).
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.