Police say students who beat teenager with special needs at school could face criminal charges

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**Warning: The video is disturbing**

MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) – The mother of a teenager with special needs says she plans to file charges against students accused of brutally attacking her son at a Middleburg Heights school Monday.

The incident, recorded on a cellphone, is now part of an ongoing Middleburg Heights police investigation. Police Chief Edward Tomba calls the assault that occurred at the Polaris Career Center unusual.

“It’s very violent; second of all, it was caught on video so it was a planned attack,” said Chief Tomba.

Jennifer Hoffman, sitting next to her son Nick, 17, was in tears describing the cellphone video of the incident.

“He beat him like a punching bag in his head in his jaw,” described Hoffman.

She later said, “You see bullying happen but you don’t ever imagine it’s happening to your kid.”

Hoffman says Nick has autism and epilepsy. She is worried about the repeated punches Nick suffered to his head and how it could harm his health in the future. Hoffman says he was evaluated by a medical professional.

During the incident, Hoffman said he tried to protect his head as he fell to the ground.

“I didn’t want to be hurt even more than I was because the kid gave me almost a concussion,” he said.

A police report states the assault captured on video is the second time Hoffman was attacked that day. The report states Hoffman sent a social media message that read “hey” to a girl Sunday who is dating the student that initially assaulted him.

Just before 9 a.m., Hoffman was attacked by the student in the locker room, according to the report.

“This kid came up to me and I was like, ‘Hey, and what do you need?’ and he punched me in the face and kicked me in the back with steel toed boots.”

Police say the student was suspended from school. However, later the same morning, Hoffman was attacked again by a friend of the student suspended in the first incident. The second attack was captured on video.

“This one is a little more violent and we’re going to follow through with it, you know, show a prosecutor the video and let them decide what action they want to take,” explained Chief Tomba.

Polaris Career Center superintendent Bob Timmons sent the following statement to FOX 8:

“We were made aware of an incident that occurred yesterday of an alleged student assault which was video-taped and posted to social media. We immediately began an investigation and are following our disciplinary procedures. We take any form of aggression seriously as the safety of our students is our first priority.”

By sharing their story, Hoffman says she hopes other parents and students find the courage to speak up for their own safety.

“If I can help one more kid or parent to talk to their kid about how to treat others then I’ve done the right thing,” said Hoffman.

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