One Ohio man has been sentenced to one month in jail after teasing a 10-year-old disabled girl. The girl’s mother caught the whole thing on video and posted it online, where it immediately went viral.
The little girl who was the object of teasing suffers from cerebral palsy. The man even got his 8-year-old son to mock her, as the video below, embedded at the end of this article, will show.
“On Nov. 27, Judge John A. Poulos of the Canton Municipal Court sentenced 43-year-old William Bailey to 29 days in jail,” ABC News reports.
“The taunting occurred on Sept. 26, when Tricia Knight and her mother-in-law were waiting for her children's bus to return from school. Knight's three children, including 10-year-old Hope, attend Walker Elementary with Bailey's 9-year-old son, Joseph,” adds the same media outlet.
Bailey and his son are seen getting off the school bus, right before Hope, dragging their leg on the ground, mocking her.
Hope’s mother has told the court that this was not the first time they picked on her, but rather the culmination of months of teasing and bullying over something she cannot control in any way.
“[Bailey] was dragging his leg and patting his arm across his chest to pick his son Joseph up. I asked him to please stop doing this. ‘My daughter can see you.’ He then told his son to walk like the R-word,” Knight said in court.
Prosecutor Jennifer Fitzsimmons tells the media that, in her entire career, she has not seen a case like this, but she insists it should be no different from gender or race discrimination.
“I think when we look at cases, there's case law out there regarding people commenting and gesturing against race and religion. But when there's nothing out there regarding disabilities, it took me a little bit longer to come to a decision,” she says.
Though she believes the sentence will not change much in the interactions between Bailey and Knight (and their families), at least it will pave the way to progress in this regard by setting a precedent and opening an honest conversation between people.
*Please note that the video below might be considered offensive for two instances of graphic language.