Wake County mom upset after a picture of her autistic son using the school bathroom circulates online

WAKE COUNTY (WTVD) -- The mother of a Rolesville High School student with autism is furious after she said another student took a picture of her son - in the bathroom - and shared it on social media.

On Friday, a student took a picture of Benjamin Howard and another special needs student which quickly began to spread online.

The photograph showed Howard's exposed backside and was taken by a classmate in the bathroom at Rolesville High School.

Howard, who has autism and is unaware that this incident has occurred, has difficulties expressing himself verbally.

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His family is distraught that the picture circulated online for three days before one student came forward and notified a teacher.

Wake County Public School officials told ABC11 in a statement that such behavior is "a severe violation" of their student code of conduct, warranting that suspension(s) will be given out in addition to any pursued legal action by the family.

Benjamin's mother, Melanie Howard, shared her frustrations with all those who passed the picture along and said nothing.

"Step up and have a voice," she said. "He doesn't have a voice. Help him, that's your peer. Despite that he has a disability - that's your peer. He's in school with you!"

Howard said she's especially hurt because, just seven months ago, Benjamin's classmates surprised him with a promposal.

READ MORE: Wake County student with Autism surprises buddy with promposal

The Howards have filed a police report with the Rolesville Police Department.

"This investigation is ongoing, pending the future application of juvenile petitions for the actions of the students that took and disseminated the photo," a press release sent to ABC11 said.
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