- MMA fighters, pro-wrestlers, and NFL players tweeted their support for an autistic boy in Oklahoma who was physically attacked by other students in two viral videos.
- The school district and police said they have identified the students who attacked 12-year-old Rayden Overbay.
- Authorities are considering charges of bullying, as well as assault and battery.
- Overbay’s parents spoke on the issue, saying they forgive the students who attacked their son and asking adults to not bully his attackers in return.
Video of Autistic Boy Being Bullied Goes Viral
After two videos of multiple middle schoolers physically bullying their autistic classmate went viral, a handful of athletes have offered their support to the victim.
The videos, which originally went viral in September, picked up even more attention on Oct. 23 after MMA fighter Dillon Danis tweeted a compilation of both videos and said he wanted to contact the victim, Rayden Overbay.
“This is very sad,” Danis said. “We are all here for you brotha, please tag anyone that knows him or his parents i would like to reach out!”
The first incident in the video shows Overbay being attacked in the boys’ restroom at Yukon Middle School on Sep. 13. The day prior, another video surfaced online showing multiple children punching and kicking Overbay at a mobile home park.
On Sep. 16, Yukon superintendent Jason Simeroth told media outlets that both the school and police were investigating the videos.
Police then confirmed that all of the kids in both videos had been identified as students at Yukon Middle School and explained that the school had already taken disciplinary action against them. Notably, police also said they were working to determine whether or not to file charges, including bullying, as well as assault and battery.
Since the students are minors, however, it is unlikely that any full extent of their repercussions will be made publically available.
Rayden’s Parents Speak Out
Just days after these videos went viral, professional MMA fighter Justin Wren reached out to Overbay’s family, offering to help them. Wren heads an anti-bullying charity called Fight for the Forgotten.
At a news conference with Wren, Overbay’s parents explained their son has high-functioning autism and that they decided to not to enroll him in a special education curriculum. Later, when discussing the bullying, Overbay’s father fought tears.
“It’s gotta stop, no matter what,” he said. “Whether it’s my son somebody else’s son or daughter… it’s gotta stop.”
“A few people decided to record it on video because they thought it was funny,” he said. “It is the only reason I am sitting in front of you today. Some of those kids claim to be my son’s friend, and that’s hard as a dad.”
Overbay’s parents, however, said incidents have been happening for years, with his mother saying she’s seen kids walk up to him and punch him “square in the stomach” since he was eight or nine.
Despite struggling with their son’s bullying, both parents said they forgive the kids who attacked him. The Overbay’s also asked adults to stop bullying the other children after those children received death threats and their addresses were posted online.
“We forgive the kids for what they did,” Overbay’s father said. “They made a mistake, they’re 12 they’re 13 they got a life to live.”
“We want to stand here and say stop bullying and stand against, stop bullying, you can’t turn around and say now let’s get a group and go beat these kids up,” Overbay’s mother said. “That’s not how fixing bullying works.”
Athletes Offer Support
Shortly after Danis’ tweet, #StandWithRayden began trending on Twitter, with more athletes supporting Overbay. Oakland Raiders offensive lineman Trent Brown tweeted that he wants to bring Overbay and his family to an NFL game.
Taeler Hendrix of the National Pro Wrestling League also said she wanted to send him gifts and dedicate her next match to him.
Notably, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield issued a message to Overbay and shamed the parents of the children who had bullied him.
“Unbelievable that kids could actually be this mean and spiteful,” he said. “Shame on the parents of the ones picking on Rayden… these videos are hard to watch, and that’s only what has been caught on video.”
“I don’t know if he or his family will ever even see this… but hang in there,” the NFL quarterback continued. “Y’all have lots of love and support coming your way. Stay strong and believe there are brighter days ahead!!!”
I don’t know if he or his family will ever even see this… but hang in there ❤️. Y’all have lots of love and support coming your way. Stay strong and believe there are brighter days ahead!!!— Baker Mayfield (@bakermayfield) October 24, 2019
After taking notice of the growing trend, Wren said he would share some of the most supportive tweets with Overbay and his family.
Florida School Says Students Vaccinated Against COVID-19 Must Stay Home for 30 Days
The school falsely claimed that people who have just been vaccinated risk “shedding” the coronavirus and could infect others.
Centner Academy Vaccination Policy
A private school in Florida is now requiring all students who get vaccinated against COVID-19 to quarantine for 30 days before returning to class.
According to the local Miami outlet WSVN, Centner Academy wrote a letter to parents last week describing COVID vaccines as “experimental” and citing anti-vaccine misinformation.
“If you are considering the vaccine for your Centner Academy student(s), we ask that you hold off until the Summer when there will be time for the potential transmission or shedding onto others to decrease,” the letter reportedly stated.
“Because of the potential impact on other students and our school community, vaccinated students will need to stay at home for 30 days post-vaccination for each dose and booster they receive and may return to school after 30 days as long as the student is healthy and symptom-free.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has debunked the false claim that those newly vaccinated against COVID-19 can “shed” the virus.
According to the agency’s COVID myths page, vaccine shedding “can only occur when a vaccine contains a weakened version of the virus,” but “none of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.”
In fact, early research has suggested that vaccinated people are less likely to spread the virus than unvaccinated people.
Beyond that, unvaccinated people are more likely to spread COVID in general because they are much more likely to get the virus than vaccinated people. According to recently published CDC data, as of August, unvaccinated people were six times more likely to get COVID than vaccinated people and 11 times more likely to die from the virus.
Centner Academy Continues Spread of Misinformation
In a statement to The Washington Post Monday, Centner Academy co-founder David Centner doubled down on the school’s new policy, which he described as a “precautionary measure” based on “numerous anecdotal cases that have been in circulation.”
“The school is not opining as to whether unexplained phenomena have a basis in fact, however we prefer to err on the side of caution when making decisions that impact the health of the school community,” he added.
The new rule echoes similar efforts Centner Academy has made that run counter to public health guidance and scientific knowledge.
In April, the school made headlines when its leadership told vaccinated school employees that they were not allowed to be in contact with any students “until more information is known” and encouraged employees to wait until summer to get the jab.
According to The New York Times, the following week, a math and science teacher allegedly told students not to hug their vaccinated parents for more than five seconds.
The outlet also reported that the school’s other co-founder, Leila Centner, discouraged masking, but when state health officials came for routine inspections, teachers said they were directed in a WhatsApp group to put masks on.
See what others are saying: (WSVN) (The Washington Post) (Business Insider)
Katie Couric Says She Edited Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quote About Athletes Kneeling During National Anthem
Couric said she omitted part of a 2016 interview in order to “protect” the justice.
Kate Couric Edited Quote From Justice Ginsburg
In her upcoming book, journalist Katie Couric admitted to editing a quote from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in 2016 in order to “protect” Ginsberg from potential criticism.
Couric interviewed the late justice for an article in Yahoo News. During their discussion, she asked Ginsburg about her thoughts on athletes like Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem to protest racial inequality.
“I think it’s really dumb of them,” Ginsburg is quoted saying in the piece. “Would I arrest them for doing it? No. I think it’s dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act.”
According to The Daily Mail and The New York Post, which obtained advance copies of Couric’s book “Going There,” there was more to Ginsburg’s response. Couric wrote that she omitted a portion where Ginsburg said the form of protest showed a “contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life…Which they probably could not have lived in the places they came from.“
Couric Says She Lost Sleep Making Choice
“As they became older they realize that this was youthful folly,” Ginsberg reportedly continued. “And that’s why education is important.“
According to The Daily Mail, Couric wrote that the Supreme Court’s head of public affairs sent an email asking to remove comments about kneeling because Ginsburg had misspoken. Couric reportedly added that she felt a need to “protect” the justice, thinking she may not have understood the question. Couric reached out to her friend, New York Times reporter David Brooks, regarding the matter and he allegedly likewise believed she may have been confused by the subject.
Couric also wrote that she was a “big RBG fan” and felt her comments were “unworthy of a crusader for equality.” Because she knew the remarks could land Ginsburg in hot water, she said she “lost a lot of sleep” and felt “conflicted” about whether or not to edit them out.
Couric was trending on Twitter Wednesday and Thursday as people questioned the ethics behind her choice to ultimately cut part of the quote. Some thought the move showed a lack of journalistic integrity while others thought revealing the story now harmed Ginsburg’s legacy.
See what others are saying: (New York Post) (The Daily Mail) (Insider)
Biden Administration Orders ICE To Halt Workplace Raids
The Department of Homeland Security will now focus on targeting employers who exploit undocumented workers, instead of carrying out raids that dissuade those workers from reporting labor violations.
DHS Reverses Worksite Raid Policy
The Biden administration announced Tuesday that it was ordering Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to stop workplace raids.
The move marks a reversal from Trump administration policies that have been strongly criticized by immigration activists who argue the efforts created fear in immigrant communities and dissuaded them from reporting labor violations or exploitative employment practices.
In addition to stopping the raids, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a memo that the administration will refocus enforcement efforts to instead target “employers who exploit unauthorized workers, conduct illegal activities or impose unsafe working conditions.”
Mayorkas added that the immigration agencies housed in DHS will have the next 60 days to identify harmful existing policies and come up with new ones that provide better deportation protections for workers who report their employers.
In the Tuesday memo, the secretary argued that shift of focus will “reduce the demand for illegal employment by delivering more severe consequences to exploitative employers” and “increase the willingness of workers to report violations of law by exploitative employers and cooperate in employment and labor standards investigation.”
Labor Market Implications
The new policy comes at a time when the U.S. is experiencing a critical labor shortage, including in many sectors that rely on immigrant labor.
Some companies that use undocumented workers pay them wages that are far below the market rate, which is not only exploitative but also undercuts competitors.
According to Mayorkas, the pivot to employer-based enforcement will help protect American businesses.
“By exploiting undocumented workers and paying them substandard wages, the unscrupulous employers create an unfair labor market,” he said in the memo. “They also unfairly drive down their costs and disadvantage their business competitors who abide by the law.”
It is currently unclear how effective the new efforts will be, but historical precedent does not paint an optimistic picture.
The Biden administration’s efforts closely mirror a similar move by the Obama administration, which attempted to reverse workplace raids authorized under President George W. Bush by targetting those who employ undocumented workers rather than the workers themselves.
That effort, however, still led to thousands of undocumented workers being fired.