Community leaders respond to bullying incident
Bay Village's police chief and superintendent released statements in response to an incident that was recently reported to the police and media. A peaceful vigil to promote tolerance is planned for Friday, Sept. 5, 6:15 p.m., in front of Bay High School.
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE BAY VILLAGE POLICE DEPARTMENT
On Sept. 3, a Bay Village mother reported her 14-year-old son with autism was the victim of a prank "ice bucket challenge." Her son was with a group of youth and thought he was going to be doused with a bucket of ice water. Instead, a bucket full of water, urine and spit was dumped on him. The incident was recorded by the youth and posted to Instagram.
As parents and those with friends who have children with autism, we are appalled by the actions of the youth involved in the assault on this young man. It is sad and disheartening to see this type of behavior from our youth. Those involved will be held accountable for their actions.
The Bay Village Police Department is working quickly and thoroughly to investigate this heinous act. We are working closely with the Bay Schools, analyzing the device used to record the video, interviewing witnesses, determining exactly where and when this occurred and identifying those involved. Preliminary information suggests this occurred prior to the start of the school year at a home in Bay Village. At the conclusion of our investigation, we will present our information to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office for determination of appropriate charges.
We understand the collective community anger. It is the hope of our community that this anger will be channeled into a positive action and supporting organizations such as Autism Speaks. Anyone wishing to make a personal donation to the family should contact the family representatives at the offices of Valore & Gordillo at 440-333-7330.
MESSAGE FROM SUPERINTENDENT CLINT KEENER
Dear Bay Village students, parents, staff and community members:
Our entire Bay Village Schools community is heartsick over the cruel actions taken against one of our students as shown in the recent video aired on Fox 8 News. The student and family targeted by this act have our utmost sympathy, and we will work to let this student know that we care very much about his well being.
We are supporting our Bay Village Police Department as they vigilantly work to complete their investigation in this case.
Many of our students and staff members have been participating in fundraising for ALS through the Ice Bucket Challenge. It hurts us deeply to see such a wonderful effort twisted to deliberately cause someone pain.
At Bay High, many students volunteer specifically to make sure our special needs students find the companionship and acceptance that will make them happy and successful at our school. What happened recently does not in any way reflect the vast majority of our students.
We ask our parents and our community members to be patient as we work to discover all the facts. This incident is, at present, a police matter. Please respect the privacy of all the minor children involved, both victim and suspected offenders. While the incident happened outside of our school day and off campus, our schools will take all appropriate action available to us in terms of disciplinary action once the investigation is complete.
We also expect that our student body will, as they always do, use this event as an opportunity to show that the greatest antidote to this type of cruelty and ignorance is the kindness and caring that they demonstrate time and again, each and every school year.