Parents, children turn hateful prank against teen into message of love

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BAY VILLAGE, Ohio-- More than 100 parents, children and other residents from Bay Village and beyond gathered in front of Bay High School,  Friday night before the football game.

But they weren’t there to cheer on the Rockets. They joined together to rally behind a boy with autism who was bullied on video.

They carried signs and chanted “No hate in Bay, No Hate in Bay” on Wolf Rd. for about an hour.

Elizabeth Sweeney, a mother of two, organized the event with other moms who became upset after seeing the video.

She said, “The response has been overwhelming.”

The video first aired on FOX 8 News Wednesday at the request of the 15-year-old victim’s parents. The parents wanted people to see the cruel prank they say high students pulled on their son, who has autism.

They said their son thought he was taking the ice bucket challenge to raise money for ALS research, but instead high school students dumped a bucket of human waste and cigarette butts on him.

Fellow high school students at the rally were still stunned that it happened.

“I was disgusted,” said Jack Graber.

“They shouldn’t have done it,” added Mark Cominski.

But the district is working hard to turn the horrible actions of a few into something positive.

The student body is now collecting money to donate to both ALS Research and Autism Speaks.

Superintendent Clint Keener said that type of behavior is more indicative of Bay students.

“I want people to know that our students are awesome,” said Superintendent Kenner.

Police are investigating and could charge the boys as soon as next week.

The superintendent said the boys may also face disciplinary action at school pending the outcome of that investigation.

Many people at the rally, especially parents of children with autism, said they would like to see the boys punished.

Jim Sammon said, “As a parent you think of it and for it to happen to a kid like that it’s beyond shameful; it really is.”

The group gathered together at the rally said they understand they can’t change everyone’s heart, but they do hope to at least open a few minds.

*Click to read more on the investigation*