Go, Fight, Win! Beating Doesn't Break Boy Cheerleader's Spirit
Back off bullies, is the message an 11-year-old boy cheerleader is sending bad guys on playgrounds nationwide.
Despite a fight that left his arm broken and lots of name-calling, Tyler Wilson says no bully is going to stop him from being a cheerleader.
"I'm going to keep going. I'm going to make a lifestyle out of it," the Findlay, Ohio, tween tells ABC News.
Meanwhile, Kristy Wilson, the sixth grader's mom, is putting up her dukes, saying she is furious with educators at Glenwood Middle School and its independent cheerleading squad for not stepping in to prevent the bullying.
She tells ABC News she knew her son would take some flak from classmates for joining the Flag City Youth Cheerleading Squad, but she never imagined he would be beaten up so badly.
"The first thing I wanted to make sure of, when he said he was going to join cheerleading, that he understood the possibility was there that he would get teased and made fun of and he was OK dealing with it," Kristy Wilson tells ABC News.
She says Tyler, who is the lone guy on the cheerleading team, loves gymnastics and tumbling and wanted to join the squad despite her warnings that the boys at school might tease him. The trouble started when some of his middle school classmates spotted him cheering the day before school started and the teasing began.
"I knew that some of the kids where teasing him, and we talked about ways to deal with that," Kristy Wilson tells ABC.
Things went from bad to worse recently when Tyler was walking home from school and two of his alleged tormentors approached him and punched him. The incident allegedly included one of the boys picking up Tyler and slamming him on the ground, breaking his arm.
Kristy Wilson filed a police report, but tells ABC News she was shocked at what she heard when she met with Glenwood Middle School officials to discuss the incident.
"I didn't find out until we went to the school that things were starting to get aggressive before this fight occurred," she tells the network. "When I went to the school, about two days after it happened to discuss Tyler's story, the principal said there was an incident Monday and the Friday before that the boy who started the fight had jumped on Tyler's back and tried to start a fight."
Kristy Wilson says if she had known Tyler was being physically targeted she would have stepped in to stop the situation, and would have gone as far as removing him from the school.
"I really wish the school would have let me know a lot sooner, so I could have dealt with it sooner," she says.
Lt. Charles Wilson, of the Findlay Police Department, tells ABC News the other boys involved in the fight have been charged in youth court, one with felonious assault, and the other with a simple assault.
"He is still nervous about everything and what happened and his spirits are down because he can't fully participate in cheerleading, still," Kristy Wilson says. "He's fighting his way through it. Everybody he's talked to, he says he is not giving up."
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.