‘One more punch to my son’s head could have killed him. He was physically assaulted in gym class, attacked from behind, punched so hard he was knocked out, his nose broken in 5 places.’

“So, I have debated putting this out there, but something good needs to come out of something very painful that happened to our family. Last week my son, who is a Junior at Wakefield High School, was physically assaulted while playing basketball in gym class. I actually should say sucker beaten, because he was attacked from behind, punched in the head and face multiple times. Attacked so hard he was knocked out, blacked out, and his nose broken in 5 places.

I got the call mid-morning from the school telling me I needed to come right away. I was met at the front door and ushered to the back. I will spare you the drama, details, and bloody pictures, but I can tell you my heart was broken in a bazillion pieces. Seeing my son in this condition, and not being able to take away his excruciating physical pain, was a very helpless feeling. His precious little nose was so damaged, his left eye was swelling shut, there was blood everywhere on him, but the scariest part was the fear in his eyes. (I will get back to this later).

At the hospital, after many tests and CT scans, we discovered he had a concussion, facial contusions, and his nose was broken in 5 places. The next two days were filled with visits to specialists, multiple visits to urgent care, sleepless nights, more X-rays, throwing up from pain, lung problems, and severe coughing.

Collage of teen who was beat up in gym class and now in hospital
Ashley Williams-Marble

Surgery to fix his nose is scheduled for this Tuesday. Today has been a better day, but as I type this, I hear him moaning, and coughing. I feel as if I failed him as a parent, I didn’t protect him from this environment.

So, while this students’ violent behavior has halted our world, he was only given 5 days suspension, and was seen driving around Friday on Snapchat laughing. His world isn’t affected, he didn’t miss work, he isn’t out thousands of dollars, and OBVIOUSLY he wasn’t punished at home. He got 5 lousy days…

Do you know he will be back to school before my injured son will be able to go back??? I was SHOCKED… seriously in shock. Our principal justifies his decision with ‘guidelines’ in place that he must adhere to. Our school Superintendent sent a response back for us to ‘visit the school guidance counselor.’

Nobody seems to care, they are completely numb to incidents like these. Did you know in North Carolina there are 6-7 assaults each day in Public Schools??? WHAT??? Seriously I never knew this. Why??? Because it’s NEVER reported, and nothing is ever done. How can we possibly fix/stop this if nobody knows? This, to me, is totally unacceptable.

We haven’t gotten a call from the kid to apologize, or the parents of the kid to see how our son is. That shocks me. What shocks me even more… the principal hasn’t even asked how my son is doing?

What has our world come to? What values, compassion, concern, common decency are we teaching our kids? I have just now found out this kid’s family lives in the same neighborhood as us. He is 1.6 miles away and they have not even bothered to see how they can help make this right or teach their son the importance of an apology.

So now let me get back to the fear I saw in my son’s eyes that morning – it’s a fear NO KID should have to feel inside the school walls. It’s a fear we as parents, society, and educators can stop – but things have to change.

One more punch to my son’s head could have possibly killed him. Nobody seems to get that. Last year in our high school a boy was attacked in the bathroom, beaten unconscious, and almost died. Our school has learned nothing from that tragic incident. Our school district keeps in place rules that don’t protect our kids, and nobody can hold the school, or the school system accountable because they are protected under the sovereign law. (In other words, you can’t sue them)

So, in the midst of all this hurt, I want to bring awareness. Awareness to the public that violence isn’t the answer, that violence solves nothing, that we need to remind our kids to love, not to hate, and we should respect each other. I believe the more we can teach love and compassion at home, then maybe schools can become a safe place again. At least that is my prayer.”

Mother stands on golf course with teen who was beat up in gym class
Ashley Williams-Marble

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Ashley Williams-Marble of Raleigh, North Carolina. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here

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