'This kid blatantly attacked my son': Mother of student attacked at West High School speaks out, wants action

Published: Nov. 5, 2019 at 6:34 PM CST
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A Davenport mother is spending the night with her son in the hospital as he recovers from being attacked at his high school during the lunch hour on Monday.

“I am kind of numb at the moment,” Theresa Wallenhorst, mother of the student who was attacked, said.

The attack is just the latest violent act in the Davenport School District. According the district, the attack lasted less than 30 seconds but will have an impact on two young men’s lives forever. The aggressor in the attack, which was caught on camera, is facing felony charges while the victim, Charlie Macaluso, recovers at the University of Iowa Stead Children’s Hospital in Iowa City.

"Hitting is not okay,” Wallenhorst said. “It is not the way to solve the problems."

Wallenhorst can’t believe her only child was the victim of the attack. Since the incident she’s struggle to understand why the incident happened.

"You have no idea,” she said. “I hope to God that no other parent has to."

In video of the attack recorded by another person in the lunchroom at West High School where the attack took place, Macaluso can be seen being hit by the aggressor and falling to the floor. The aggressor continues to hit Macaluso as he lie on the floor before grabbing a chair and hitting the victim with it. Macaluso appears to be blacked out or unconscious in the video. TV6 has seen the video, but because of copyright permissions and the graphic nature of the attack, have chosen not to share the video in its entirety.

"I don't call it a fight because Charlie was not able to defend himself,” Wallenhorst said. “The videos that I saw clearly showed Charlie being attacked."

Wallenhorst told TV6 she picked her son up from the school after Charlie’s best friend called her to let her know what had happened. Wallenhorst took her son to Genesis Hospital where doctors discovered a brain bleed. Charlie was flown to Iowa City where he underwent emergency surgery.

"We were 20 miles from Iowa City when we received a phone call from the neurosurgeon in the E.R. requesting permission to take him to emergency surgery,” she said.

According to Wallenhorst, and Davenport School District Superintendent Dr. Robert Kobylski, an ambulance was not called to the school for Charlie. During a news conference to discuss the incident, Kobylski addressed that saying every school has medical staff in the building and protocol was followed.

"The parents, parent of the student was on scene immediately and the student was released to the parent,” Kobylski said. TV6 anchor and reporter Chris Carter followed-up by asking Kobylski if a student who was unconscious or blacked out would be a severe medical situation requiring an ambulance. “I am not aware of the circumstances of the student being blacked out or not and that is a student record I cannot discuss,” Kobylski said.

Kobylski also told TV6 that any decision regarding medical treatment for students or staff is left up to the medical team at the school and a building administrator cannot overrule the decision. Wallenhorst believes the district dropped the ball. Her 15-year-old son had part of his skull removed to undergo surgery, a tube placed in his head to allow blood to be released was removed Tuesday and he was moved from ICU. Wallenhorst said Tuesday he is responding to doctor’s commands and was able to walk around. Wallenhorts wants the incident involving Charlie to be a learning experience for all students and parents.

"Children need to be taught restraint,” she said. “This should have never happened. This kid blatantly attacked my son."

Wallenhorst said Charlie does want to return to West High School and she intends on meeting with the school to discuss his return. Koblyski would not provide details on the punishment the student who was criminally charged would face. The superintendent did say on Tuesday that because the incident disturbted the school day, the student or students who recorded the fight could face disciplinary action as well. The incident is still under investigation.

Wallenhorst said the attack steemed from a picture the victim took of the alleged aggressor and a staff member. Kobylski said the photo made him “uncomfortable” He said the picture is under investigation but he could not talking about it because of personnel matters.

TV6 has made attempts to talk with the parents of the student who has been charged in this case and are waiting to hear back.