Intellectually disabled student attacked in hallway of Muscatine High School, students come to his defense

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MUSCATINE, Iowa (KWQC) - An attack in the hallway of Muscatine High School has outraged the victim’s mother and students who are now coming to the defense of the student.

Video shared on social media shows intellectually disabled student attacked. (Viewer submitted video)

“It was kind of chaotic,” junior Josalynn McGowen said.

The fight happened in a hallway Monday morning. Police say the School Resource Officer is investigating the fight that left Coby Zahn with bruising to his scalp and swollen lips. The entire thing was caught on camera. McGowen saw the video after the fact.

"I said 'why is this kid doing this?',” McGowen said. “All he [Coby] does is walk around the halls, listen to music and mind his own business.”

The video shows a student coming up behind Zahn and grabbing him, throwing him against the lockers before pushing him to the ground and hitting him several times.

“My son himself, Coby, called me and said 'Mom, I got jumped'," Coby’s mother Vicky Zahn said Tuesday.

Zahn said her son suffers from intellectual disabilities and is now shaken up as he returned to school on Tuesday.

"Why would you pick on a handicap child? Why would you do this?,” Zahn asked. Students like McGowen have wondered the same thing. The fight has left them mad.

"There should be no bullying,” McGowen said. “Everyone should mind their own business and be kind to one another."

McGowen and some friends have started a GoFundMe to raise money to get Zahn a new pair of shoes and clothes. McGowen says whatever money is left over will be donated to charity.

"We feel bad and we want to say sorry for that person and we want him to know that we support him,” McGowen said.

The Muscatine Police Department’s School Resource Officer is investigating the incident and when asked for more details about the incident the department would only tell TV6 that the incident was an active investigation.

"I am pressing charges,” Zahn said. "I hope the kid that did this learns from this from the consequences that he is probably going to be paying."

Coby did return to class on Tuesday, but his mother said he was upset by what happened.

"He is very very very very very upset about this because he said he didn't do nothing wrong,” Zahn said.

Zahn’s mother said she believes other students may be involved because she believes the person who recorded the video started recording before the attack to catch it all.

TV6 did reach out to the parents of the student who is accused of the attack. They did not want to talk.

The Muscatine School District has not yet returned calls or emails from TV6 asking questions about the incident. They did put out a statement on Facebook. It does not address the incident specifically, but does address aggressive behavior.

Muscatine School District Statement:

"Muscatine High School prides itself on taking a hard line on aggressive behavior. In order for a school to function, the order must be maintained. The safety of all students is paramount in our thinking, processes, and protocols.

When an aggressive act occurs, we intervene as quickly as possible. We interview all the individuals involved, involve the police if necessary, and provide appropriate consequences. If an act is egregious enough, charges are filed. No act of aggression is dismissed or accepted within the school setting.

While it is impossible to foresee all possible scenarios dealing with aggression, we work with our student body, teachers, counselors, families, and administrative team members to intervene proactively whenever possible. Predominantly, our student body conducts itself positively and displays a culture of caring and support. It is always unfortunate when isolated students make choices that impact the perception of the whole school.

I can assure all of our families and students that we will remain vigilant in our dedication to creating and maintaining a safe learning environment at Muscatine High School."