Bullying incident lands middle schooler in the ICU
Parents said a bullying incident led to their child being hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit.
Rhonda and Paul Ray’s son George was a student at Washington Middle School.
The incident happened Monday during lunchtime.
Rhonda said it started with a comment about a jacket and turned into something she never anticipated, physical injuries that put her son in the ICU.
"You feel helpless as a parent, you really do, when your child is laying there," Rhonda Ray mother of George Ray said.
She said on Monday, a phone call that made her family's world stop in place.
"There was an accident and that he had some bleeding," Ray said.
While she is not sure of the exact wording of the comment, she did know it had to do with jackets. Though she does not believe it warranted a physical altercation.
"I'm not sure what conspired or what was said, George said, 'hey I'm sorry, I'm just telling you what is going on',” Ray said.
As that physical altercation happened, his mom said George never saw it coming.
“He turned his back and the kid came up to him, jerked him from behind, kicked his feet out from underneath him, slammed him to the floor," Ray said.
His physical injuries ended up being worse than they initially thought. They were told they needed to go to St. John’s Hospital as they had the appropriate trauma care unit.
George had a ruptured eardrum as well as two fractures in his skull.
"It's very scary, because if it would've been one wrong move or one more hit, he could have broken his neck and it could've been fatal for him. I mean it could've been a lot more serious than what we've got now," Ray said.
Ray's parents call this bullying a problem. One that should not happen and one that needs to stop happening.
"My son's back was turned and [he] pulled him down. Slammed him down on the floor twice for no reason at all,” Paul Ray George's father said.
Both call it something that could be avoided if the higher-ups at the Middle School worked to stop it.
"It's really unacceptable to us. We just want parents to know, keep an eye out on the bullying, tell them. If somebody tries to start a fight with you, just go tell your teacher," George Ray said.
Now George’s parents are watching their son fight for his future.
"He's got some rough times ahead and hopefully his injuries will gradually go away," Paul Ray said.
Rhonda Ray did mention George is making progress. He is conscious, eating, talking, and in stable condition.
His parents said they have no intention to let George go back to the middle school and are looking to enroll him elsewhere.
While the Vice-Principal of Washington Middle School did reach out to the family, District 186 declined to speak with us on or off camera.
Springfield Police Department also said they did arrest the student who physically assaulted George. However, they were later released to their parents.