Iowa town at odds over bullying involving autistic teen

Levi Null (WHO photo)

Some members of an Iowa community appear to disagree over whether a teen with Asperger’s Syndrome is a victim or perpetrator of bullying.

WHO-TV reports 13-year-old Levi Null has the autism spectrum disorder Asperger’s Syndrome.  His condition causes involuntary body movements, and Levi also might act out by making offensive remarks or name-calling.

What’s resulted is verbal and physical altercations with other students, and a recent online post of video of Levi’s involuntary movements.

Levi’s mom says it’s bullying.

Some citizens of Melter – including adults related to the accused bullies – seem to think Levi brings it on himself.

WHO reports the father of the teen who posted video of Levi says his child was wrong, but that he thinks only about one-fourth of the actions taken against Levi are actual bullying, and the rest is Levi’s fault.  Another resident said his nephew “cocked him in the mouth” when Levi called him a name.

Experts say people with autism cannot necessarily control how or when they might respond to their surroundings and situations.

The teen who posted the video was disciplined under the school’s ‘intolerance’ policy, but not for bullying.   The school principal also said the online video post was not found to be bullying.  The school board president says he stand by the principal.