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Calls to Action

Teen with Autism the Victim of Duct Tape Hazing Incident

October 08, 2014



(October 8, 2014) – A police investigation is underway at Highland High School in Pittsburgh, Penn., after 16-year-old Austin Babinsack, a teen with autism, was allegedly duct taped Sunday night to a goal post by two school soccer players.

Autism Speaks Exeuctive Vice President of Programs and Services Lisa Goring wrote the following on the incident saying, “Acts of bullying and abuse of individuals on the autism spectrum are far too common and completely unacceptable. Communities, including schools, have a responsibility to work together to prevent such horrific incidents from occurring.  We must all recognize and promptly respond to any and all types of bullying. Autism Speaks provides resources and information to help combat this growing problem." 

Austin in a KDKA exclusive said, “I was really shaken, I thought I was gonna be stuck there for a long time.”

The teen screamed for help and 15 minutes later a woman and police officer found him and freed him. Highlands School District has suspended soccer coach Jim Turner and the two players involved for at least 5 days.

The district released the following statement about the incident, “Highlands School District does not take matters such as hazing and bullying lightly. The district issues strict disciplinary action on students who think these actions are appropriate and harmless.”

Following the suspensions, Austin’s mother, Kristy Babinsack told KDKA that Austin attended a school soccer game where the players ridiculed him and called him a snitch.

Harrison Township Police confirmed that they are still investigating the incident. 

Learn more about our bullying resources through our Combating Bullying web portal which includes a Special Needs Anti-Bullying Toolkit full of resources and information specifically tailored to parents, educators and students dealing with bullying.