Originally aired on WIAT-TV – October 3, 2018
JASPER, Ala. (WIAT) — October is national anti-bullying month and a Jasper mother and her 13-year-old son are sharing their bullying story.
Mandi Baker said the bullying happened two years ago. Her son Noah lives with a genetic disorder called fibroxanthoma, which causes irregular growth in his legs and his bones to deteriorate. He has had both femur bones replaced as well as regular operations on his knees and ankles.
His condition is visibly apparent, and he was bullied as a result. This escalated to physical harm and Noah said the bullies would hit him in his legs.
Now, Noah has turned to a form of home school called Alabama Virtual Academy (ALVA).
Mandi said two years ago, he was a completely different kid.
“He was very recluse. He didn’t want to talk to nobody. He stayed to himself, not very outgoing and now he’s a ball of energy. He’s everywhere. He loves it and tries to help out everybody,” said Mandi Baker.
Mandi said the name calling was awful but it also got physcial.
“He was getting called gimp, crip because of his legs and they were pushing him and one day he said someone kicked him in his legs,” said Mandi.
“One time they shoved me down a hill and that was just it for me so I went home and told my mom,” said Noah Baker.
Noah said his life has compeltely changed since he started ALVA. His mom Mandi said she’ls happy to see Noah doing better, but is sad he went through this kind of bullying.
‘”It was heartbreaking because that’s your baby .You’re trusting the school to take care of child and they’re coming home with knowing they’ve been abused like that,” said Mandi Baker. “I never in a million years would think he would be disabled or bullied because of it.”
“I thought that the school was a protective place, a place where you felt safe but it wasn’t for me. I would rather have went to jail or something like that than school because that’s how bad it was,” said Noah.
To learn more about Alabama Virtual Academy, visit https://alva.k12.com/