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Tay’Shawn Landry’s mother will not stand for the bullying happening to her teenage son while he’s at school. 

The concerned parent took to Facebook May 12 and condemned the seniors who made fun of her ninth grader and his disability, cerebral palsy [CP], at Abbeville High School in Lafayette, Louisiana. 

The woman, Kimberly Mitchell, sharply let it be known that bullying her child wouldn’t be tolerated. She posted videos that she pulled from TikTok where students zoomed around the school in a motorized wheelchair and mocked her son. 

According to Mitchell’s description, the final-year students pulled the hurtful prank while causing a ruckus for a senior prank on the night of May 11.  

“Sr. Pranks are fun and all but when you make fun of my disabled kid and his belongings then IT BECOMES MY PROBLEM! I don’t care who’s parent gets upset but there will be consequences. I SAID WHAT I SAID! Y’all played with the wrong child & THE WRONG MAMA.”

The protective mother appreciated all the apologies she received from the high school’s parents and students. 

Still, she strongly warned the hurtful offenders to think first and show empathy before they engage in poor and harmful choices at another person’s expense, simply for a joke. 

“As a mother, it hurt me to see my son upset and not wanting to go back to school because he took it as people making fun of him because he’s different. Step into his shoes and tell me how y’all would feel? Yes, I’m angry! Yes, I know y’all joke and clown with him on a daily basis.”

Mitchell added that while Landry’s peers “joke and clown with him on a daily basis,” the seniors’ quips held a different and painful weight when they were done outside of her child’s presence. To her family, it came across like Landry’s peers were laughing at him and not with him about a disability out of his control.

“As a single mother, I’m responsible for him, ‘That Chair’ his education, his well-being, etc,” Mitchell said in a following post. 

Landry and his family were all extremely hurt about how his schoolmates mocked him. 

“I was upset. I was mad, I was crying — I tried to stop myself from crying because I wanted to go to school. [I] couldn’t, I was just upset,” the ninth grader told local outlet KLFY. “Some people that I know. Some people that I go to school with and they want to turn their back on me and do this. That is not acceptable.”

The teen’s grandmother, Marilyn Mitchell, shared that resilient Landry has never stood or “walked in his life.” She explained that the ninth grader’s scoliosis has made it harder for him to move and that “his ambulation [or ability to walk] is horrible.”

“Let them see how it is to be on that floor on that cement going back and forth. Just how they were riding and closing whatever. See that pain. See the agony. See the frustration of disability people.”

 Vermilion Parish School Superintendent Tommy Byler released a statement May 16 and addressed the behavior of Abbeville High’s seniors.

The apologetic statement added context to how exactly the students accessed the wheelchair Landry uses at school. 

“On Friday, videos became available via social media that the students gained access into a locked room that housed an electric wheelchair on loan to an AHS student that uses it during the school day.”

The statement highlighted that the seniors were given keys to the building “by a school employee.” Byler mentioned that the incident is “still under an internal investigation, and necessary disciplinary actions could result from the outcome…”

“Multiple students were seen riding through the halls on the wheelchair and displayed actions that were insensitive and disrespectful to students with disabilities. Abbeville High and the Vermilion Parish School System are completely disappointed in the actions of these students and in no way condone this sort of behavior…”

CP is a condition that encompasses a group of neurological disorders — all of which permanently affect one’s movement, posture and muscle tone.

The Cerebral Palsy Guide notes that teens with CP may face additional emotional stressors outside of the regular hormonal rollercoaster that others their age do. 

“It can be difficult for teens with CP to socialize or be independent if they have physical limitations. This can be very frustrating if the teen starts to feel like they are different than their peers.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that CP “is the most common motor disability in childhood.” detailed that the condition affects “three live births out of every thousand in the United States.”

Statistical data on how living with cerebral palsy affects Black teens’ mental health is sparse. 

RELATED CONTENT: “Student With Cerebral Palsy Walks For The First Time To Get Diploma”

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