Teen struggles with brain injury after bullying

10:17 AM, Nov 2, 2013   |    comments
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RIVERDALE, Ga. -- His story is heartbreaking: the Clayton County boy with the voice of an angel, who's been through hell and back.

Israel Price was the victim of repeated bullying. It got so bad that he ended up with a serious brain jury.

READ MORE | How Israel got a concussion from repeated bullying

The 13-year-old seventh grader said that in September, two boys cornered him in a bathroom at Riverdale Middle School and knocked him to the ground.

Israel suffered a concussion so severe that he had to learn to walk and talk again. For a time, it even made him unable to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a singer.

Israel said he reported three prior incidents of bullying to three different teachers at his school. Georgia's bullying law requires those to report those concerns to the principal who should have in turn notified Israel's parents.

For weeks, 11Alive News had tried to get Clayton County Public Schools officials to comment on Israel's case and the larger questions it raised about safety, supervision and bullying in the school system. They declined, citing the potential for a lawsuit by Israel's parents -- until 11Alive caught up with the superintendent at a recent school board meeting.

Resources to deal with and try and stop bullying:
* Tips and advice for dealing with bullies (stopbullying.gov)
* Georgia's anti-bullying laws and policies
* Toolkit to prevent bullying in school, and additional resources 

Interim Superintendent Luvenia Jackson would not discuss Israel's case directly because of the potential for a lawsuit by the teen's parents. But she offered broad assurances to other parents concerned their children could become victims of bullying and violence.

"We have done everything in our power to make sure every school, every building, every site here in Clayton County is safe," Jackson said.

Israel's family says he is living proof that is not entirely true.

"Any school system that allows repeated bullying when it's been reported has  failed," Israel's mother Charleia Price said.

In the meantime, Israel continues to recover from his injury and hopes to be well enough to return to school and a stage sometime soon. 

If you are feeling hopeless or helpless about bullying or know someone that is, please call the NATIONAL LIFELINE at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

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