(CBS) — Video showing a 13-year-old being beaten on his way to school has surfaced and the boy’s outraged parents say school officials put him in danger. CBS 2’s Dave Savini has their story in this Original Report.
It happened in Illinois’ El Paso-Gridley School District. What happened serves as a warning for all parents.
Blow after blow to the head and body is what the teen suffered while being transported to and from school. His father, Steve Liggett, said the beatings endured for months.
“This kid was showing absolutely no mercy,” said Liggett. “And actually thought it was funny.”
Liggett said his son’s repeated attacks included being suffocated, and the driver bussing them in a school van did nothing to stop it.
“He’s sitting six inches from the bus driver, getting the crap beat out of him,” said Liggett.
He says there was even a designated beating day. In video of the incident, you can hear the teen say, “I thought we were suspending all this and to do it on Friday.”
Liggett says before this video was uncovered, prior complaints about their son being hit were treated lightly by school officials.
“Their answer to him getting picked on was: put him in the back seat,” said Liggett.
He says moving seats in a small van was not a solution.
“They just basically said, ‘Snitches get stitches’,” said Liggett. “And that if he told anyone, they were going to find him over the summer and give him some more of that.”
The video surfaced a couple weeks after it was recorded. The family has filed a lawsuit against the district claiming months of beatings. Their attorney is Tony Romanucci.
“That is a colossal, monumental failure on the part of the school district,” said Romanucci who also said having an anti-bullying policy is not enough. “The problem with every school district being mandated at having an anti-bullying policy is there is no provision for enforcement of the policy. That’s a hole that needs to be plugged by our state legislature.”
Anthony Papini, head of the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, says the beating video is heartbreaking to watch.
“There are laws in place to prevent this,” said Papini. “What we’re finding is school districts are struggling or failing to implement them.”
Papini says his organization is working to mandate enforcement.
In the Liggett case, the family went to police, angry, they say, the school failed him.
“They put him in harm’s way — point blank, period,” Liggett said about the school district.
The District Superintendent, in a statement, denies ongoing bullying and says there was one fight. He says action was taken against students, and the driver was terminated. The statement also says – bullying policies and guidelines have been recently updated and further developed.
Since the 2013 incidents, the Liggett family moved fearing their son’s safety.