A now-viral video captured a group of students brutally beating a teen during an unprovoked attack that left him severely injured. Sadly, the boy’s parents say that’s not even the worst of it, and they have since demanded change.
Allyssa Brooke-Cox never imaged she’s be spending her son’s 17th birthday feeding him liquids through a syringe, but that’s exactly what happened after Nick Cox was brutalized during an unprovoked attack at a Sugar Hill, Georgia, recreation center basketball game, The Blaze reported. A group of students savaged the teen, leaving him with a broken jaw, severe concussion, and whiplash, but that wasn’t even the worst of it.
As seen in the footage captured of the attack during the game, Nick Cox is mercilessly brutalized by multiple students, who beat him to the point of unconsciousness, sending him to the ER. It’s what onlookers did, however, that the boy’s parents struggle to understand. As the unprovoked attack unfolded right in front of them, bystanders laughed, cheered, and recorded the incident on their cell phones. Shockingly, the response to the attack only got worse from there for the teen and his family.
“People actually applauded,” Allyssa recalled. “I don’t understand that. I can’t even now understand it. I don’t know where the disconnect is with seeing someone get hurt and finding joy and humor. I can’t fathom that and it haunts me,” she added. Sadly, that’s not all that haunts her, Nick, and his father James. According to the boy’s dad, the attack took a “mental toll” on their son, which only got worse as the video went viral and he learned the “punishment” his attackers faced.
As Nick recovered from his injuries, including a broken jaw, which broke through his skin and tore the inside of his mouth, he could barely move around his family home on his own. As an apparent result of a severe concussion, Nick struggled with dizziness, leaving him debilitated. “He has a broken jaw in three places,” Allyssa explained. “It was a clean break on the right side and two breaks on the right [sic]. His jaw actually twisted into his mouth, so it broke through the skin.”
As Nick was faced with the possibility that he may need further reconstructive surgeries to fix his jaw down the road, he was devasted to learn his attackers were “still going about their everyday activities” as if nothing had happened. “When he found out that the kids who did this to him were still able to go to school and play sports and live life as normal, that hit him pretty hard because his entire life has completely changed,” James admitted.
Although authorities did reportedly arrested at least one juvenile who was allegedly involved in the attack, the police would not say what charges the teen faced, Fox 5 Atlanta reported. “He’s also being tried as a juvenile, and it feels like a slap on the wrist,” the Coxes said, adding, “[H]e wasn’t the only one involved.” The school’s reaction didn’t make the parents feel any better either after watching the video, in which Allyssa witnessed her son’s head being “slammed onto the hardwood floor so hard that it bounced.”
“I felt like we got a lot of lip service,” Allyssa said, referring to her discussions with school officials about the attack on her son. “I would sit with someone and tell them this story and would show them the video and they would say, ‘Oh, that’s terrible. We’ll see what we can do’ and would do nothing,” the distraught mother recalled. “There [sic] need for accountability and the schools are failing,” she added. “He had been punched to the point of unconsciousness and hit his head against a concrete wall as he collapsed on the ground.”
Calling the attack “both horrific and heartbreaking,” the Coxes hope to push schools to intervene and punish students for infractions that take place off-campus. The family created a petition, urging the local department of education to create and implement a code of conduct in which students could face punishment for violations that take place off school grounds, KAKE reported. It quickly garnered tens of thousands of signatures.
“My son, an athlete himself, is missing his entire fall season of his elite baseball team, while the students who laughed, danced and cheered my son’s assault continue to receive college scholarship offers to play sports at NCAA schools,” Allyssa said in the petition. “Sadly, we are not the only family fighting this very same battle at this very moment,” she added, explaining that a teen in Arizona suffered a similar attack, and much like their case, the school refused to suspend those athletes from participating in sports or extracurricular activities.
“The high schools, citing a recent Supreme Court Case – Levy vs The State of PA – say they are unable to issue consequences for behavior that happens outside of school property,” Allyssa continued. “The problem? The Levy case was a matter of freedom of speech. My son’s story is a matter of violence.”
Although Allyssa said she understands and respects the 14th Amendment, which ensures the right to public education, she said she is “fervently” opposed to tax dollars being “spent on extracurricular activities for students who commit violent, hate-filled, bullying or otherwise offensive acts.”
The Coxes raise a valid concern. Should a victim have to face their violent attacker at school just because the criminal is a student? Or, are there certain crimes that are severe enough that the accused should have that right stripped from them after they’ve proven to be a danger to others? You decide, but if this were my son, I’d want those, who caused him harm, to be the ones finding a different school, not my child who has already been put through enough.