THE family of a disabled boy who was filmed as he was attacked in a school playground spoke out last night after the shocking online footage was watched by more than two million people.
The parents of Conor Radford have expressed their dismay after a video of their son being taunted and punched by another boy in front of classmates at Greenfield Community College, in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, went viral.
Since then, the family say they have been shocked by threats made against the boy who punched their son and last night they broke their silence to say: "We just want it to stop."
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Dad Jason, 46, said: "The fight happened about a month ago and, as far as we were concerned, it was over and dealt with. The video coming out is a different can of worms. We didn't want to publicise this but we just have to deal with it now.
"We’ve had grown men saying online that they want to beat up the boy who assaulted Conor. That's not right and it's not what Conor wants. You can't solve violence with violence. For everyone's sake leave it - it's done."
Conor added: “It’s all over now, so we’re friends – we were friends again before the video came out. I just don’t want anyone to hurt him.”
The fight happened in January but unbeknownst to Conor, someone had filmed the incident and decided to post it online at the weekend. Within a few hours it went viral, and before it was taken down on Monday the video had been seen by more than two million people.
The 15-year-old, from Newton Aycliffe, was unable to fight back because he has arthrogryposis, a rare medical condition which means he cannot lift his arms or punch. The fight ended when Conor's friend, Adam Scott, intervened, throwing his arms around him and leading him away.
Conor's parents praised Adam's bravery for breaking up the fight.
Mum Sarah, 35, said of the video: “We knew about the initial fight which was about four weeks ago, but we didn’t know there was a video so it was a shock when my phone started to go with people messaging to see if Conor was okay.
“There were so many emotions; anger and hurt. I was gobsmacked by it. We hadn’t realised how vicious it was. I don’t think the other boy realises what could have happened. It could have ended differently if Adam hadn’t been there to stop it.”
Conor has had ongoing health problems and in 2006 was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia, which meant he had to have chemotherapy and radiotherapy. After the treatment failed in 2010 he had to have a bone marrow transplant the following year.
Mrs Radford added: “With everything going on he’s overcome. It’s heartbreaking."
But she added: "Conor’s fought death three times. If he can bounce back from that he can bounce back from this.”
Greenfield head teacher David Priestley said: “We are taking this incident very seriously. We have carried out a thorough investigation and have spoken to the students involved and their parents.
“We are taking action in line with our policies against those who played a key part in this incident and we have also been in contact with the police.
“I would like to thank those who have contacted the school about this and wish to reassure parents and the wider community that we do not condone bullying or fighting at Greenfield Community College.”
A spokeswoman from Durham Police said they were working with the school to address the issues.
* Following a request from Conor's parents The Northern Echo has agreed not to host the video on its website.