Cellphone video captured by a Gurnee high school student shows the moment when a 17-year-old boy was beaten by a classmate after allegedly arguing on the bus ride to school Wednesday.
“My head was hurting so bad,” said Tawaun Sanders.
The teen's mother and attorney explained how the victim, who is on an individualized education plan, was attacked and no one stepped up to protect him.
“Security is there, other staff members are there, students are there, no one intervened,” said Attorney Arielle Williams.
Keesha Steptour, Sanders’ mother, says the situation in and of itself is painful.
“I send my child there to learn and I come to the school and I can’t even recognize who he is…he was beaten so bad,” she said.
Sanders was hospitalized and treated for a concussion.
“It was a viscous attack,” said Williams. “What we’re seeking is justice… we’re seeking for the children to be protected. Tauwan and any child that goes to school, they go to get education, learn, be protected.”
Steptour says the system failed her son.
“My son could’ve been murdered, that’s trauma to his head… that’s where his brain is. They failed my son. The whole school district did,” she said.
Now, they want new changes implemented at Warren Township High School.
“We’re looking for the staff to be trained. But to know to intervene when a situation like this happened. So they can see the signs,” Williams said.
“This could escalate to something else” Steptour went on to say. “This is how kids commit suicide.”
Their friend and community activist said the trauma is underestimated.
“What history does he have, do they know?” community activist Anthony McIntyre asked. “Do they care?... if you knew more about his background, maybe some of those young adults or staff members would take better care.
The teen said he’s embarrassed about the situation and the derogatory comments that followed on social media, but he was brave enough to share his story with NBC 5, hoping it doesn’t happen to someone else.
The school district told NBC 5 via phone that they were unable to give a comment on the matter, but his family believes they will do the right thing, and fight bullying a bit better.