An eleventh-grade boy who is autistic was beaten up by one or more seniors at Princeton High School during finals week and had to get stitches because of a cut on his head.
Part of the incident was recorded on a cell phone by at least one student, and a student posted a clip on Snapchat, students told Planet Princeton. Police were dispatched to the high school in response to the June 16 incident.
There are conflicting reports regarding whether the fight was mutual. Police said Friday afternoon that two students engaged in a verbal argument in the cafeteria. The argument allegedly escalated and the boys walked to a nearby hallway, where they got into a fight. The autistic student was cut, and the other student injured his hand. According to police, no other students were involved in or took part in the fight, although there were several students present during the fight. Students told Planet Princeton more than one student was involved in the fight, but that the Snapchat video clip showed one student punching the autistic student. Students said the other students did nothing to stop the fight.
The student who was beaten up has Asperger’s Syndrome. Children with autism spectrum disorders are three times as likely as their non-affected siblings to experience bullying, according to a 2012 national survey conducted by the Interactive Autism Network and Johns Hopkins University. Sixty-one percent of kids with Asperger’s experienced bullying, while 28 percent of children with autism and 37 percent of children with other autism spectrum disorders had been bullied, according to parents who took part in the survey.
More than half of the autistic children experienced intentional triggering of meltdowns or had been provoked into fighting back, according to parents. One mother said kids often tried to upset her daughter on purpose because they found it funny when she cried and got upset.