A 17-year-old boy was so brutalized during a recent attack that a broken jaw sustained in the attack broke through his skin and tore the inside of his mouth.
The attack took place at a Sugar Hill, Georgia, recreation center during a July basketball game.
As the group savaged 17-year-old Nick Cox in what his parents said was an unprovoked attack, bystanders laughed, cheered, and recorded the incident.
What are the details?
Nick's mother, Alyssa Brooke-Cox, spent her son's recent 17th birthday feeding him liquids through a syringe, WAGA-TV reported.
Allyssa said that the attack left her son with a broken jaw, a severe concussion, and whiplash.
"He has a broken jaw in three places," she told the station. "It was a clean break on the right side and two breaks on the right [sic]. His jaw actually twisted into his mouth, so it broke through the skin."
She added that her son couldn't initially move around the family's home on his own due to the dizziness he suffered as an apparent result of his severe concussion.
His father, James, added that the attack took a "mental toll" on their son.
The Coxes, according to the station, showed teens gathering around, watching the brutal beatdown while laughing and recording video footage of the attack on their phones.
"People actually applauded," Allyssa said. "I don't understand that. I can't even now understand it. I don't know where the disconnect is with seeing someone get hurt and finding joy and humor. I can't fathom that and it haunts me."
Nick may need further reconstructive surgeries down the road, and was devastated when he learned that his attackers "are still going about their everyday activities."
"When he found out that the kids who did this to him were still able to go to school and play sports and life life as normal, that hit him pretty hard because his entire life has completely changed," James added.
The station reported that authorities have arrested at least one juvenile who was reportedly involved in the attack, but police will not say what charges the teen faces.
"He's also being tried as a juvenile and it feels like a slap on the wrist," the Coxes added. "[H]e wasn't the only one involved."
Image source: Facebook video screenshot
Now the family is pushing for schools to intervene and punish students for infractions that take place off-campus.
"I felt like we got a lot of lip service," Allyssa said of her discussion with school officials. "I would sit with someone and tell them this story and would show them the video and they would say, 'Oh, that's terrible. We'll see what we can do' and would do nothing. ... There [sic] need for accountability and the schools are failing."
What about the petition?
The family has created a petition urging the local department of education to create and implement a code of conduct in which students could face punishment for violations that take place off school grounds. The petition has received more than 25,000 signatures at the time of publication.
Allyssa went into even greater detail about her son's attack in the petition.
Upon watching the video, Allyssa said, she witnessed her son's head being "slammed onto the hardwood floor so hard that it bounced."
"He had been punched to the point of unconsciousness, and hit his head against a concrete wall as he collapsed on the ground," she added. "It is both horrific and heartbreaking."
Of her son's attackers, Allyssa added, "My son, an athlete himself, is missing his entire fall season of his elite baseball team, while the students who laughed, danced and cheered my son's assault continue to receive college scholarship offers to play sports at NCAA schools."
KAKE-TV reported that administrators at both Buford and Gwinnett County School districts both reportedly "provided the Cox's [sic] with a recent Supreme Court Case — Levy vs The State of PA — saying they are unable to issue consequences for behavior that happens outside of school property. The Cox's argue the Levy case was a matter of freedom of speech. Allyssa Cox says her son's story is a matter of violence."
A GoFundMe page to benefit Nick's recovery has received more than $38,000 in donations at the time of this reporting.