Saturday, February 5, 2011

The shirt off his back


A better encounter.

Nadin Khoury, 13, whose taped bullying got wide attention, visited “The View” with his parents and met Eagles including DeSean Jackson, who gave up a jersey. Nadin Khoury had just returned home from school Monday when he heard a knock at the door. The Upper Darby eighth grader peeked out the window to see a reporter standing on his porch. The next day, the video that had captivated local news crews — a clip of seven teenagers bullying Khoury — went national. Captured by one of the attackers on a cell phone, the video shows the boys dragging Khoury through the snow, stuffing him into a tree, and hanging him by his coat on a seven-foot-high iron fence.
MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff PhotographerNadin Khoury holds the jersey given to him by the Eagles’ DeSean Jackson. He was back home in Upper Darby after the trip to New York with his mother and stepfather, Eric Wright (left).
It’s difficult for Khoury, 13, to watch the video, let alone to see it played on CNN or The View, where Khoury and his family were guests on Thursday.
And while the bullying video wasn’t Khoury’s preferred path to notoriety, it hasn’t been all bad. On Thursday, Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson surprised Khoury on The View and gave him an autographed jersey.
“I started crying,” Khoury said at his Upper Darby home Thursday. “That’s my favorite football player.”
Knowing that the boy admired Jackson, people from The View called the Eagles to see whether Jackson would like to attend the filming and surprise the boy. Right off the plane from last weekend’s Pro Bowl, Jackson said he would be glad to go, and the Eagles arranged for teammates Jamaal Jackson and Todd Herremans to join him. “ I’m just blessed for the opportunity,” Jackson told a questioner at the Auto Show Thursday night who said she has a son in school and thanked him for the gesture.
The seven boys who attacked Khoury are being held at a juvenile detention center in Lima, Delaware County. They are charged with aggravated assault, kidnapping, and related offenses. A hearing is scheduled next Thursday.
Khoury, who moved to Upper Darby this summer, said he had trouble with the group of boys, aged 13 to 17, since the start of the school year. They made rude comments about his mother and chased him and his friends.
On Jan. 11, Khoury was walking home from school with a friend when the boys jumped him. After they had kicked and punched Khoury some, they cornered him and starting filming. The attack went on for 20 minutes before a woman pulled up in her car, chased the boys off, and took Khoury, bruised and scratched, home to his mother, Rebecca Wright.
Wright immediately contacted the school and the police, who investigated the charges and found the cellphone video. Khoury said the boys posted the video on YouTube.
But Khoury’s parents had not seen the video until police arrested the suspects this week and showed the video to the media.
Wright, 38, a mother of four with a fifth child on the way, said watching the film made her feel “crazy” she was so angry. Wright had carefully sewn Khoury’s coat after the attack, but she had not seen it rip under her son’s weight when the boys strung him up on the metal spears of a fence.
“When people tell you something, you say, ‘Yeah, yeah,’ ” Wright said. “But seeing it was a whole other thing. No parent would ever want to see it.”
Although the videotaped attack was Khoury’s worst encounter with the pack of boys, it wasn’t his first, or his last. Friends of the crew jumped Khoury three days after the video was taken, punching him in his face and his back before running off, he said.
Khoury’s family moved to a new neighborhood this week, hoping to distance themselves from the problems.
Khoury saw the police cars arrive Monday at the Opportunity Center, an alternative education program affiliated with Upper Darby High School that he and the suspects all attend. Six of the suspects were led out in handcuffs. The seventh was arrested at school the following day.
“I sighed in relief,” said Khoury, who wore a bluestriped shirt buttoned to the collar Thursday.
Jackson said he saw the video of the attack.
“It was just tough to watch,” Jackson said.
He said that many children are bullied and afraid to speak up, but that the child stood up to his attackers.
“That was brave,” Jackson said, “and it takes a lot of character to step up.”

1 Comment(s)

Benard Mickernan get a life.  Bullies were always in Upper Darby even in the 60's when i was a teenager.  Only difference was they rarely got caught back then because bulling was more accepted.  Today we see it differently.  Oh yes, in the 60's Upper Darby was all white and so were the bullies.  It i not a racial thing.  For the most part it is a juvenile thing.