A special needs high school student from Texas has been subjected to vicious bullying, receiving a barrage of offensive text messages from strangers poking fun at her condition and threatening to rape and kill her.
Shea Shawhan, of Plano, is 18 years old but has the mental capacity of an 8-year-old as a result of a severe brain injury she had suffered at birth.
Shea is a junior at Plano West Senior High School, where she plays softball and is a member of the cheer squad.
Eight months ago, the 18-year-old girl began receiving hateful text messages on her iPhone mocking her disability and her appearance.
One of the texts read: ‘Why are u still here. Clearly no one wants you. U only have special needs friends. And ur ugly and have a horrible fashion sense. Honestly ur clothes suck.’
Some of the missives addressed to the student were even more explicit and menacing, including one that stated: ‘Shea is so annoying but cute I want to do more than just kiss her I want to rape her then kill her. That will finally make sure she goes away for good.’
Shea’s mother, Kerri Riddell, believes that a group of kids from her daughter’s school are responsible for the harassing text messages.
‘She’s so sweet and I’m so frustrated I can’t find out who it is. I just want to find that parent and say, ‘What did you do? Do you know your child is doing this?”’ Miss Riddell told the station MyFox Dallas-Fort Worth.
The texts have been sent from bogus phone numbers generated by web applications, making it difficult to identify the senders.
A message sent in late September even boasted that Shea and her mother would never be able to figure out who has been tormenting her.
‘I am many because we are a group and a union of people who dislike u,’ the missive stated.
In a bid to stop the bullying, Keri Riddell has changed Shea’s phone number and blocked many of the fake numbers, but messages are still trickling in at a steady pace.