Illinois teen with Asperger’s syndrome teaches bullies who beat him up a life lesson

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HIGHLAND, Ill. — An Illinois teenager with Asperger's syndrome taught his cowardly bullies a lesson for the ages after dropping charges and opting for a more productive way of getting back at his tormentors.

Despite being assaulted by a group of teens, Gavin Joseph decided not to press charges. (Photo: Facebook)

Despite being assaulted by a group of teens, Gavin  decided not to press charges. (Photo: Facebook)

Gavin's mother Cortnie Stone wrote a detailed Facebook post about her son's condition — a developmental disorder that affects the ability to effectively socialize and communicate — and his run-in with a gang of teens who beat him up because he's "weird."

Gavin has spent years learning what society thinks is appropriate and not appropriate, and so he doesn't offend anyone or stick out in social situations. Being a teenager with Asperger's is tough because all the sudden people around you are consistently "breaking" all the social do's and don'ts you've spent years learning.

Stone then delves into the night her son was assaulted, unfairly, led by a boy who "didn't ask questions" and "didn't get to know Gavin."

He was called to meet someone, surrounded by people he didn't know, choked, punched, and left laying on the pavement so he would "learn his lesson."

Gavin suffered a concussion, bruised esophagus, fractured nose, and hematoma in his eye, but "nothing permanent," according to his mother. Despite the list of injuries, he decided against pressing charges, but did offer a suitable alternate penalty.

He requested their community service to be disability-related, where his attackers would have to write a paper on Asperger's and watch a 20-minute video statement he taped so they can see the damage they did and hear the event from his perspective.

He and his mother hope his bullies get the lesson this time.

The post has been shared more than 800 times, filled with proud and outraged commenters.

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  • A Stand Up Guy

    Gavin if you read this, I believe you have and will go much further in life that these people who by the picture posted above who violently assaulted you will ever go.

    One can only hope that those cowards who chose to take part in your injuries take advantage of your genoristy and kindness and actually better themselves as human beings and not animals by learning that they received from you a very huge break and pass on what they chose to do to you.

  • Rose Cisarik

    Gavin, you are an amazing young man and I applaud you!
    I have worked for Cps for 18 years. For the last 15 I have worked with children with Aspergers.
    They have been the brightest, kindest children I have worked with. Yet the most misunderstood.
    Today you have become another one of my heroes!!

  • Michelle

    God Bless you Gavin. If I still lived in that area I’d give you a hug. Your bravery and intelligence will take you far in this world, and I wish there were more people who responded to conflict and suffering the way you chose to. I truly hope that the ones who hurt you learn from this and change their ways.

  • Jackie Lind

    You are a very smart man Gavin! I hope the lesson you are teaching them helps them realize that everyone should be good hearted to everyone all the time. No one should ever hurt anyone else .Apparently no one has ever taught them this lesson.

  • criptor

    Gavin, I praise you. I wish you go far in life and I hope your pain won’t scar you for years to come. After years of dealing with bullies myself I’ve learned a hard lesson. Bullies will never learn, they will never change, and they will laugh at your leniency. You need to give them the worst possible punishment you can give them, because they won’t learn any other way. This coming from myself, my sister is a sociopath, I know it, my mom knows it and I have personally seen her basically never change no matter the years of therapy, jail time she’s done or any of it. She simply will not ever change. She dated a guy who was a criminal thankfully he killed himself, but before he died he was essentially as bad as Charles Manson. He never changed either. They both got worse. Society needs to keep these kinds of people out of regular population. They can’t and will never do anything good for society in their lifetimes only cause pain and suffering. I’m glad you still have empathy for those that beat you up, but believe me, those people won’t really care and will probably beat you up worse the next time they see you because you showed mercy. It’s a hard lesson I’ve learned in all my years..