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It was supposed to be a regular school day for 13-year-old Josiah Garmon. But his family says it turned for the worst because of a TikTok challenge.
“I got tricked into doing something very bad. They told me, ‘how high can you jump?’ And I was like I can jump really high. So, they were like, ‘let’s record a video, see how high you can jump,” Josiah Garmon said. “I was like ‘alright!’ And I got in the middle, so they could see me on the camera. They made me jump up in the air, and they kicked my legs, and unfortunately, I broke my arm.”
He said he was waiting for his bus ride home at Boca Raton Community Middle School on March 31.
“They said the kids had been playing a game, and he had been injured,” Rachel Morgan, Josiah’s mother, told WPBF 25 News.
But she soon found out it wasn’t a game.
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The lawsuit alleges that at least two students participated in what’s known as the “Skull Breaker Challenge,” where someone would tell the other person to jump, before swiping their legs from under them.
She said nobody at the school called for an ambulance and was told that the school nurse had left early that day.
“I saw his hand hanging off his arm. And that made me so just emotional,” Morgan said.
She soon learned that the video was passed around her son’s classmates on social media platforms.
“I thought my life was ruined because it was in the middle of my basketball season,” Garmon said. “It was just so terrible. I couldn’t even see my friends, and everybody wanted to know what was happening.”
“Use a rope to catch his feet, but when that didn’t work, one was one side, one was on the other side, and they both kicked at the same time,” Morgan said. “It was very obvious that they planned this out, they knew what they were doing.”
She said her son was homeschooled for the rest of the year, before transferring him to another school.
“Why didn’t they have things in place to at least try to prevent these things from happening to our kids?” Morgan asked.
“They see it as funny, but as you know from research, kids have died from this,” Patrick Lawler, the family attorney, told WPBF 25 News. “What did the school know? What did not just Boca Middle but the entire school system? And if they didn’t know, then what are they doing? What the hell are they doing?”
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The lawsuit alleges that as a result of the challenge, Garmon has had a difficult time completing his school semester, finding another school to transfer to, and has also been experiencing constant physical pain.
“Garmon, has incurred a disability, disfigurement, pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life, expense of hospitalization, and medical and nursing care and treatment… will suffer the losses in the future,” the lawsuit claims.
Lawler said they are researching the identity of the students involved in the challenge, before determining whether additional lawsuits will be filed.
“The kids were the active reason why this happened. Nobody wants to go after juveniles and stuff, but with this kind of situation and injuries, we’re going to look into that,” the attorney said.
The family is demanding an amount in excess of $30,000, in addition to interests and costs as well as further relief.
“If I didn’t catch myself with my arm, I could have injured myself even worse,” Garmon said.
He said he never wants to see those classmates again, and instead, wants to focus on the positive around him.
“Bring myself up and other people up as much as possible,” Garmon said.
WPBF 25 News made public records requests on the incident and inquired whether there were any disciplinary actions taken on the students involved. Officials said it was an open investigation with confidential juvenile information, and therefore, were not able to release additional details.
We reached out to the Palm Beach County School District and they said they do not comment on pending litigation.
We also reached out to TikTok for a statement and have not yet received one.
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