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Eleven-Year Old Girl May Face Permanent Blindness After Bullying Incident

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Farren Washington3 years ago

Eleven-year-old Gwendolyn Quarles developed a rare brain disorder that manifested itself soon after another child purposefully threw a football at her face in October 2014. 

Description of the Gym Class Incident

According to ABC News, Gwendolyn Quarles was in gym class at the time, and the gym teachers for unknown reasons left the children alone. An argument had escalated, and then a ball was thrown at her face.

Later in the day, her parents took her to the hospital near their home in Austin, Texas after her complaints of not feeling well. The doctors then diagnosed her with intracranial hypertension, a rare disorder where pressure inside the skull chokes off the optic nerve from the brain. 

Intracranial hypertension literally means that the pressure of cerebrospinal fluid within the skull is too high. “Intracranial” means “within the skull.” “Hypertension” means “high fluid pressure.”

Child Now Faces Permanent Blindness

The family had emailed The Founder's Classic Academy multiple times about previous incidents in which Quarles was bullied. The doctors are not 100% certain that the disorder was a direct result of the head injury. The Intracranial Hypertension Foundation reports that the condition is usually the result of severe head trauma.

It is not certain if Quarles will completely recover from the incident, and there might be the possibility of her going blind even if she undergoes surgery. Besides problems with her eyesight, Quarles is also experiencing other issues such as: difficulty with speech and thought process, as well as loss of coordination and balance.

The family has racked up substantial medical bills as a result of her condition, only some of which has been covered by insurance. The family has started a campaign to help cover the remainder of the out-of-pocket costs.

Because the school did make attempts to remedy the situation, and no one else besides the children actually saw what happened, the family does not plan to sue.

Bullying Statistics
  • About a third of children report being verbally or physically threatened at school, and the likelihood of bullying peaks in the middle school years when kids are age 10 to 14.
  • Kids who are bullied have higher rates of anxiety, depression, and lower self-esteem.
  • Children who are victims of bullying have a higher risk of physical ailments such as heart disease, diabetes and suicide. 
  • Sometimes kids who are bullied become bullies themselves, perpetuating the cycle.


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