A teenager who was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome was bullied and beaten up by teens like him. But instead of pressing charges, he asked that they be required to watch a 20-minute video that he recorded about his condition instead.
Gavin Joseph was beaten up by a group of young boys who led him to believe that they wanted to be friends with him. The bullies reportedly wanted to harm him because they thought he was “weird and creepy”. But even after suffering some injuries from the attack, Gavin was quick to forgive— and he wanted his attackers to learn a very important lesson.
On a Facebook post, Gavin’s mom, Cortnie Stone, wrote:
“Some kids were talking about how it’s weird that he’s always by himself, attending events alone and watching people, and that it was “creepy” how he wanted to be friends with people he didn’t know.
“Another kid that overheard that conversation decided to take matters into his own hands and become judge and jury, and this is the result of that. He didn’t ask questions, didn’t get to know Gavin, never met him, and didn’t give him a chance to leave.
“He was called to meet someone, surrounded by people he didn’t know, choked, punched, and left laying on the pavement so he would ‘learn his lesson’.
“Gavin is fine. He has concussion, a bruised oesophagus, the tip of his nose fractured, and hematoma in his eye, but nothing permanent.
“He did not press charges, but requested their community service be disability related, that they write a paper on Asperger’s, and that they watch a 20 min video statement he taped while their families were present so they could see the damage they did and hear the event from his perspective.”
Cortnie said Gavin had been working really hard all his life to learn about social cues, but socialization is still a constant challenge due to his condition. She told:
“He can appear rude, impatient, ‘weird,’ detached, or uninterested, but this is not intentional. He can also be kind, generous, and forgiving, but even this can appear awkward at times because some of it is learned and not always natural.”
Cortnie added that one of the biggest challenges for Gavin is that people sometimes act in ways contrary to what he has taken years to learn. She told:
“Being a teenager with Asperger’s is tough because all [of a] sudden people around you are consistently ‘breaking’ all the social do’s and don’ts you’ve spent years learning.”
While her son chose to forgive despite the fact that he was hurt, Cortnie says she is proud of Gavin.
“I am so proud of him, and I hope a lesson will of this to all that hear about it.”
Contributed by Althea Estrella Violeta
Stephanie McNeal: BuzzFeed: A Teen With Asperger’s Taught The Bullies Who Attacked Him A Lesson Instead Of Pressing Charges