PARENTS
11/21/2013 04:34 pm ET | Updated Nov 22, 2013

Bullying Of Teen With Autism Provokes Controversy In Small Iowa Town

A teenager with autism who attends a small Iowa school is being bullied by his classmates, and some feel school officials have turned their backs on the problem. Others say the teen brought it on himself.

Levi Null, 13, has Asperger's syndrome, a developmental disorder characterized by difficulty socializing and obsessive, often repetitive interests or behaviors. His mother, Dawn Simmons, told local news outlet WHO-TV that he gets picked on and "smacked" by his classmates at Melcher-Dallas High School in the town of Melcher-Dallas, which has a population of just 1,288.

The bullying culminated recently when a student put a video online that showed Levi having reactions to his Asperger's medication, WHO reported.

The father of the boy who posted the video said the tormenting is "three-fourths" Levi's fault.

The school's principal told Levi's mother in an email that the video didn't qualify as bullying, WHO wrote in a follow-up story. The teen who posted the video was disciplined for intolerance and bigotry but not for bullying.

Since WHO first reported the story Monday, its website has been flooded with hundreds of comments, some of them saying Levi deserved the bullying.

"You only get bullied if you let yourself get bullied," wrote one commenter, who said her nephew had punched Levi in the mouth after Levi allegedly called him a name.

"He definitely doesn’t belong in the community school if he is calling other kids names," wrote another, adding, "Whether it’s a condition or not, other kids shouldn’t have to suffer being called names because ... of Levi’s condition."

Others said bullying is a serious problem at the school and claimed little is done to stop it. "I raised 4 kids in that school," wrote yet another commenter. "Believe me ... the bullying is terrible and whats [sic] worse is the staff turning their backs."

The school's principal, Josh Ehn, was not immediately available to comment to The Huffington Post. District Superintendent Delane Galvin did not respond to our request for comment, either.

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