- Associated Press - Saturday, September 6, 2014

BAY VILLAGE, Ohio (AP) - About 100 people turned out for a rally Friday night before a football game at an Ohio high school where students are accused of dumping a bucket of feces and body fluids on a special-needs student who thought he was taking part in the “Ice Bucket Challenge.”

Outraged police in the Cleveland suburb of Bay Village are pledging to bring charges against the students responsible for the prank, which the student’s mother discovered this week on his cellphone. Since then the incident has gained national publicity and has been shared on social media.

The woman said her son was tricked into having feces, urine and spit dumped on him when other kids told him it was part of the popular fundraiser to benefit ALS.

The local chapter of Autism Speaks joined supporters for Friday night’s rally featuring anti-bullying signs and chants.

“We wanted something positive to come out of a horrible act,” Bay High graduate and rally organizer Elizabeth Sweeney told The Plain Dealer (https://bit.ly/1pVItZ5). “We got an overwhelming response from everyone.”

Laura Hoffman, field development director for Autism Speaks in northeast Ohio, said during the day students would collect money for ALS research and Autism Speaks. Students are urging the entire community to wear blue in support of autism awareness.

“Unfortunately, these horrifying incidents of bullying and abuse among individuals on the spectrum are far too common and completely unacceptable,” C.J. Volpe, who works for the national chapter of Autism Speaks, said in a statement. “It is critical as a community that we work together to prevent such horrific incidents from occurring and that we learn to recognize and respond to them in ways that best support our loved ones with autism.”

School officials say the act isn’t reflective of the Bay Village student body. They say many students and staff have taken part in the “Ice Bucket Challenge” to fight ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Officials don’t know when the incident occurred, but police have identified suspects and continue to investigate.

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