Disturbing videos show a group of high school students mocking a Louisiana teen with cerebral palsy — while riding around on his motorized wheelchair they swiped as part of a sick prank.
One of the clips, posted on TikTok and Facebook by nine-grader Tay’Shawn Landry’s mother, shows a boy riding her son’s wheelchair in an Abbeville High School hallway strewn with toilet paper.
The student makes squealing and slurring sounds that appear to be making fun of Landry, who his mom said has been traumatized by the incident even though he was not present at the time.
His wheelchair had been in a classroom at the time the students gained access to the school, according to an official with the Vermilion Parish district.
“Sr. Pranks are fun and all but when you make fun of my disabled kid and his belongings then IT BECOMES MY PROBLEM!” Landry’s mom, Kimberly Mitchell, wrote.
“I don’t care who’s [sic] parents get upset but there will be consequences. I SAID WHAT I SAID! Y’all played with the wrong child & THE WRONG MAMA,” she continued.
Cerebral palsy is a congenital disorder that affects movement, muscle tone and posture.
Mitchell said the incident has left her son not wanting to go back to school.
“As a mother, it hurt me to see my son upset and not wanting to go back to school because he took it as people making fun of him because he’s different,” she wrote.
Landry spoke to KLFY about the sickening act of bullying that took place on Thursday.
“I was upset. I was mad. I was crying. I tried to stop myself from crying because I wanted to go to school. [I] couldn’t. I was just upset,” the boy told the news outlet.“Some people that I know. Some people that I go to school with and they want to turn their back on me and do this — that is not acceptable.”
Laundry’s grandmother Marilyn Mitchell said his disability makes it difficult for him to get around.
“His ambulation is horrible. He never stood. He had never walked in his life,” she told KLFY, adding that he has also undergone surgery.
“Now he has scoliosis making it even harder for him to move around. Let them see how it is to be on that floor on that cement going back and forth,” Marilyn said.
The boy’s other grandmother, Clarice Landry, said she is worried about his mental health.
“With doing something like this, a prank of this nature, his mentality status,” she told the station.
“In the time frame of them doing this to Tay’Shawn and what he has been through can play a role in his mental status. With everything that’s going on in the world today with the kids, we don’t know how it’s going to affect him in the long term.”
The family wants the bullies to face consequences for their actions.
“They say that these are good kids. I’m not saying that they’re not good kids, but if you are a good kid, why did you do this to Tay’Shawn?” Clarice Landry said.
“If they could only walk a day in his shoes, they could see how he felt when he found out that they did that to him. How would they feel if someone would do that to them or if they had a family member that had a disability and someone would take and do something like that how would they feel?” she added.
Tay’Shawn’s mom also wrote a letter detailing the incident.
“These days, people do any and everything to follow a trend. It was a senior trend that went too far,” she wrote in the lengthy letter, which includes a photo of her son in his wheelchair.
“Sometimes things are done because we think it’s funny not knowing how it could make someone else feel. Nothing was funny about the situation because everyone who is commenting on the situation isn’t raising a kid or has a sibling, or family member with my son’s condition.”
The single mom said her son “was born this way, he didn’t ask to be this way.”
“No, he wasn’t there when the prank occurred but to wake up and see the videos caused anguish. To them it seemed fun, but to my son it seemed as if he was being impersonated because of the things seen done in ‘HIS’ personal wheelchair,” she added.
Kimberley, who noted that she has not described anyone as a “bully,” said she wants the students to be held accountable for their actions, including paying for any possible repairs for the $15,000 chair.
“Right now we are hoping and praying that the chair is still mobile (not broken),” she wrote.
School board Superintendent Tommy Byle released a statement to KLFY about the incident, which he said occurred after the unsupervised students got into the school using keys they got from an employee.
“Videos became available via social media that the students gained access into a locked room that housed an electric wheelchair on loan to an AHS student that uses it during the school, day,” he wrote.
“Multiple students were seen riding through the halls on the wheelchair and displayed actions that were insensitive and disrespectful to students with disabilities,” he added.
Byle said school officials have notified the central office and the students involved have apologized to Tay’Shawn and that “conversations” have taken place with the offenders.
The official added that the matter remains under investigation and that “any disciplinary actions against students and or faculty are confidential.”
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