HOWELL, Mich. – Three students from Howell Public Schools are being charged as adults after they pretended to befriend a new student so they could lure him to a skatepark and beat him up while recording it for social media, according to officials.
The alleged assault happened Aug. 31 at the Howell Skatepark, which is right next to Howell High School, according to the Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office.
Officials said the three students acted as though they were befriending the new student, a 16-year-old boy with autism, by spending time with him at lunch and during school. They encouraged him to go to the skatepark with them after school and led him to the back of the bathroom area, which is out of sight of the buses and the freshman campus, according to authorities.
When they were out of sight, two of the students pushed the victim to the ground, punched him and kicked him, officials said. The third student recorded the attack and posted it on social media, court records show.
“He’s disappointed because he thought these kids were his friends,” the victim’s mother told Local 4 earlier this month.
“The investigation revealed that this attack was unprovoked by the victim and was planned by the defendants,” a release from the Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office says.
Officials said the victim suffered a concussion and some bruises.
“I do believe these boys deserve a consequence for what they did, but I don’t want this to ruin their lives,” the victim’s mother said. “I want this to be a springboard for them to say, ‘You know what, I want to be better. I want to be a better person.’”
Prosecutors have charged the three students with assault with intent to commit great bodily harm, which is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in the Michigan Department of Corrections. The charge is considered a “specified juvenile violation,” and someone age 14-16 can be charged as an adult offender, officials said. If convicted, the juveniles can be sentenced in the same manner as an adult.
The names of the three students are being withheld pending arraignment at 53rd District Court, authorities said.
Anyone with further information about the incident is asked to call Howell police at 517-546-1330.
Here is Victor Williams’ report from Sept. 9: