- Posted October 6, 2012 by
Hope Holcomb: Ten Year Old Victim of Alleged Bullying
Hope Holcomb, a 10 year old girl from East Sparta in Ohio has become the very public face of an ongoing problem in America. According to video recorded by the girl’s grandmother, Hope is a victim of bullying by a neighbor and his nine year old son. Hope also has Cerebral Palsy.
“Children with CP have trouble controlling their muscles - leaving many unable to walk without help or unable to walk at all. Some will have difficulty eating, communicating or playing.” – Law Offices of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C.
The video of the neighbor and his son mocking Hope and imitating her limping walking was captured on video last week by the girls grandmother and has sparked national outrage after it was first aired on Fox 8 news. In the video the girl is seen pleading with her tormentors saying tearfully
“Stop, Please. Try to be nice”
This, says Hope’s family, is an ongoing pattern of torment and bully that has finally lead them to file charges with the local prosecutors office. The story has gained the family a lot of local support and many local businesses in the community, which is south of Canton, have offered the child support and gifts. The family says all they want is the bullying to stop.
Hope’s parents, Tricia and Mike McKnight appeared on Fox 8 News in the morning on Wednesday wearing “Stop the Bullying” t-shirts and her father had this to say, “We are getting somewhere with it, so that is good because now other families have a voice,”
“Because it is just wrong for anybody to be bullied,” said Tricia Knight. “It is wrong. Like I said, it’s not just for Hope, it is for everybody. If we all stand together maybe we can put a stop to it.”
The man in the video is identified as a neighbor, William Bailey. Bailey, refused to talk on camera, but told The New York Daily News that he was injured at work and was suffering from bruised ribs and twisted back when the video was shot and that he would never do anything to make fun of the girl with Cerebral Palsy.
He said “I would never do that. I wasn’t out to make the kid look bad”
On the contrary Vickie Bailey, the wife and mother of the alleged bullies, said that this was all part of an ongoing feud between the two families. This claim seems to have some merit as both families have filed for charges with the prosecutor’s office, however, no criminal charges have been filed as of yet. Vickie stated that she believe that because of the feud, the McKnight’s’ were taking things out of context and over reacting.
'He did get out of the car, you've seen the video I am sure, my kid was walking like, but no offense to Hope so why they are taking it that way, I have no idea,' Vickie Bailey said.
William Bailey has taken it even further, making this statement to CantonRep.com
“I love that little girl. I never even meant that or anything at all toward little Hope. I don’t make fun of anybody with a disability."
He added that it was the McKnight’s that were the ones who were making fun, of Bailey’s son who has ADHD and suffers from seizures. The McKnight’s aren’t buying the professions of affection.
“It makes me sick too, to think that a grown man would tease a 10-year-old disabled girl that has never done a thing to any of them for no reason, and now she doesn't want to get on the bus to go to school,” said Mike McKnight.
Since charges and counter charges have been filed, both families are headed to the Canton prosecutor’s office next week to either resolve the dispute or find out if criminal charges can be filed. The prosecutor remains non-committal stating that she will review all the reports and then meet with the families to determine what, if any, charges can be filed.