GEORGE COUNTY, Miss. (WALA) - A local special needs student claims he was bullied and punched by an older student at his school, and it has sparked massive outrage through Facebook.
On Thursday, 14-year-old Austin Stokes came home with cuts, bruises, a chipped tooth and a swollen eye.
He says these are scars from a bully.
"(Bullying at my school) is a real big problem," said Stokes.
Stokes suffers from Cerebral Palsy and he has special needs. He said on Thursday an older student called him an offensive term.
Stokes said, "I threw a coke can at him, and next thing I know, he knocks me off the ground."
Stokes had to be taken to the hospital, and his mother Lori Dees said the school has charged the alleged bully with simple assault.
Mississippi Code said simple assault is punishable by up to six months in jail and up to a $500 fine.
Dees said, "If you hit someone who can't defend themselves, there should be a stricter charge than simple assault, possibly aggravated assault."
School officials did not release the alleged bully's name.
After waiting at the school for an hour, FOX10 News was told the principal would not speak to the media.
Stokes is afraid to go back to class. He said he's been bullied there in the past.
He hopes other students learn from this.
"I want them to know bullying is not a thing for school; it's not a thing for home either," said Stokes.
In a statement released by the George County School Board, the board said, "State law prohibits our school district from publicly discussing specific matters involving students. The school has conducted a thorough investigation of the incident and has taken appropriate action that is consistent with the Mississippi School Safety Manual and the policies and procedures of the George County School District."
The statement continued:
"As a result of this incident, our school district has been and continues to cooperate with
law enforcement officials from the State of Mississippi, the District Attorney's office,
County Prosecuting Attorney's office, Sheriff's office, as well as other agencies. Our
district has policies and procedures in place to deal with a range of behaviors, and all
procedures have been strictly followed. We remain committed to our students to
provide an education in a safe and secure environment.
It has also come to our attention that some person(s) have reported to the traditional
and social media and have displayed photographs as well as given partial or inaccurate
accounts of events believed to have happened at our school. Because of
confidentiality rights of our students, we cannot publicly respond to the charges and
accusations that some people have made. We have been and continue to cooperate
with all law enforcement agencies as this incident is investigated, and we encourage the
public to allow the official agencies to take such action as the law allows and is deemed
appropriate by those agencies. Out of respect to our students and George County, we
encourage no further gossip on social media sites."
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