A boy has suffered horrific burns after a classmate set his hair alight while they were on a lunch break, his mum has said.
The incident took place last week on January 12, at John Rolfe Middle School in Richmond, West Virginia, USA.
According to police, they were called to the scene just after midday along with the fire department, to reports of a victim suffering non-life-threatening burns.
The unnamed boy’s mother says she was told by administrators that the school was on lockdown due to Covid contact tracing, so her 13-year-old son’s maths class was having lunch in the classrooms, WWBT reports.
She said: “That’s when the girl kind of flicked the lighter and lit his hair on fire.”
Hair that once went past down teen’s shoulders is now burned to his scalp, while the side of his head, ear and parts of his neck are now scarred and blistered.
The mother says still can’t wrap her head around the circumstances that landed him there.
She says she received a call from an administrator on her son’s phone shortly after he was burned and when she arrived, she was able to ride in the ambulance with him to the hospital.
She said: “He was hysterical; he looked scared. His pride emotionally and mentally is broken.
“He had long, curly, just a nice head of hair, it was beautiful.”
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But she says what broke her most was the middle school’s response, as she claims the school initially downplayed the incident and didn’t want to press charges against the student.
She added: “What if this was your child, what would you be, would you be livid, would you be devastated, how would you feel?”
John Rolfe’s headmistress sent a statement to parents and students following the incident, which read: “A student was burned by a classmate who was playing with a lighter. The injured student was taken to the hospital and is receiving treatment.
“Here at school, we are reviewing the incident to ensure something like this does not happen again and taking appropriate disciplinary action as necessary.”
Despite the statement, the victim’s mother says the school’s response doesn’t do enough to address her son’s trauma.
She explained: “You can’t just brush this under the rug and think that it’s going to just go away, it’s not.
“My son is severely hurt, he’s suffering and it’s not fair to me, it’s not fair to him, so y’all just need to be held accountable.”
The Fire Marshal’s Office charged the teen with unlawful wounding, with the matter now going to Juvenile and Domestic Court.
The victim’s mother says she is just grateful his wounds aren’t any worse.
She said: “Right now, I’m just blessed that I have him, that I can talk to him, that I can get him in good spirits, that I can touch his hand, that he can talk back to me. I’m just happy he’s here.”
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