A video recently emerged in a story on CNN of an autistic boy, 15, from Bay Village, Ohio, doing the ALS ice bucket challenge. When it came time to have the ice dumped on his head, the boy got a bucket of urine, spit and feces instead, according to CNN.
The identity of the boy was not revealed at the request of his parents. But they wanted to share the video with the public to “let others know about the cruelty of bullying,” according to CNN. They spoke out about the incident calling it “intentional and premeditated” stating that their son was taken advantage of.
The teens responsible for this cruel act now face charges of assault, according to the Bay Village police.
Following the video’s release actor Drew Carey, whose hometown is near Bay Village, pledged a $10,000 reward to find those behind the prank in the video. Students at Bay High School also took a stand, staging a “blue out," against this event and other forms of bullying.
The students are also fundraising for ALS and Autism Speaks, an autism awareness organization.
According to Autism Speaks, 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the US, affecting a total of three million people in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide. Children suffering from a mental disability are two to three times more likely to be bullied than their non-disabled peers.
Bullying, of both disabled and non-disabled youth, is an all too common occurrence. According to statistics reported by ABC News, 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying.
Bullying victims are two to nine times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University. A similar study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among youth are related to bullying.
In order to work together against bullying, it is important to know the signs and to reach out to victims. Early intervention is key to reducing the risk of suicide. Students, teachers and parents each play an important role. Helping at-risk students feel connected to their school and community, developing coping skills, raising awareness and helping others understand disabilities and providing support to victims are all important steps that keep students safe.
If you or someone you know may be a victim of bullying or at risk for suicide please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.