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Family, School Meet To Discuss Autistic Student Being Duct Taped To Soccer Goal

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A meeting was held this morning over an alleged case of hazing involving the soccer team at Highlands High School.

Earlier this month, two seniors duct taped an autistic teammate to a goalpost.

Austin Babinsack, 16, says he was left there for about 15 minutes.

He yelled and screamed until a neighbor helped free him.

The students, along with their coach, were suspended.

Today, Babinsack's mother, her attorney, and the school district met to discuss the incident.

"We have assurances that there will be no further bullying at Highlands School District. They are going to deal with that. Any type of bullying whatsoever - third party communication - in a very aggressive manner," attorney Phil DiLucente said. "Kids go to school to learn, they go to school to socialize. Not to be bullied."

DiLucente said Austin is doing well and is dealing with the situation.

He has been invited to participate in pre-game activities for soccer teams at area colleges.

"The things we started to hear were comments from outside the area about how terrible highlands must be at educating students when statewide we've been known as an exemplary educator of students with special needs," Dr. Michael Bjalobok, Highlands School District Superintendent said. "It's a situation where it starts as something bad but you have to view it as how can we help our community. How can we help mend and heal the wounds and learn something from this moving forward."

The Babinsack's say the international attention their son's story has gotten has been overwhelming.

"The community is very divided at this point, we have a lot of support but we also have the people who think we are dead set against thinking that we're trying to make the district out to be something of horrific atmosphere, which we're not," Kristie Babinsack said

Austin Babinsack says he's just trying to give others the courage to speak out.

"I want to help not only me but other kids who've been bullied before," he said. "They need help and sometimes the school doesn't understand but highlands been understanding."

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