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Parents fight back after teen's assault goes viral online

Other kids filmed the assault and posted it online.

ATLANTA — A family is pushing for change after their son's assault went viral online. 

The 16-year-old was playing basketball at a local rec center when he was attacked. As it happened, other kids filmed the assault and posted it online. 

Now, the victim's family is saying they don't think the suspects should escape the fullest consequences just because they're underage. 

"I don't have words to articulate the anger that people found joy in my son's pain. That they didn't see a human being thrown to the ground, that they saw joy, they saw humor, and they laughed at that. That's my son," the boy's mother, Allyssa Brooke-Cox said in an 11Alive exclusive.

She spent her son, Nick's, 17th birthday feeding him through a syringe because his jaw was wired shut. His jaw was broken in three places from the attack. Nick also had a severe concussion, and doctors had to check for internal bleeding. 

"While he was in that state, his jaw just hanging there, he was watching this video of his attack spread like wildfire on social media," Nick's father, Robbie Cox added.

Both Allyssa and Robbie say watching the video of their son's attack is a haunting experience.  

"They didn't stop it; they applauded it. And to me, that's participation. I don't expect everybody to be a hero and run in to save the day if that's not your style. But to laugh and applaud, and cheer, that's not humanity," Allyssa said.

The one teenager accused of breaking Nick's jaw is charged with assault as a juvenile, but Nick's family says they feel like the rest of the kids are getting off without any punishment. 

The two kids are seen allegedly hitting Nick in the video both attend Buford City Schools.

However, in a statement to 11Alive, the district noted that the attack happened off-campus and before the school year. They refused further comment. 

The teens accused of posting the video and laughing at the attack attend Lanier High School in Gwinnett County and are varsity athletes. 

Gwinnett County Schools say while it does have a code of conduct, but because their students were not accused of physical assault and it happened off school property - in this case - it doesn't believe that code of conduct applies.

Now, Nick's family is calling for a strict code of conduct for all student-athletes that would govern their behavior even if they're not on school property or even if school is not in session. 

"I think we need to teach kids if we are trying to raise them to be good citizens, that there are consequences for our actions. If I, as an adult, did this, I would lose my job. Even if it didn't happen at my place of work, but for some reason, these kids are protected because it happened off school grounds, and that just logically doesn't make any sense to me," Robbie said.

Their petition already has more than 5,000 signatures and they plan to present it to the federal department of education in hopes of holding kids accountable for what they post online. 

Nick's medical bills already exceed $50,000. The family started a fundraiser to help offset the cost.

11Alive attempted to reach out to the people who originally posted the video. We have not heard back. 


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