A 13-year-old Virginia student sustained second and third-degree burns after a female schoolmate allegedly lit his hair with a lighter while they were in class on Wednesday. The female student has since been charged.
According to WWBT, the incident occurred at the John Rolfe Middle School in Henrico County. And the boy’s mother told the news outlet her son had been admitted to a hospital at the time of the report.
The mother, who did not want to be identified, said she couldn’t grapple with what had happened. She added that a school administrator called her on her son’s phone to report what had happened in the aftermath of the incident.
“He had long, curly, just a nice head of hair, it was beautiful,” the boy’s mother said. “All I could hear the teacher say over the phone was something is happening with my son.”
Police said Henrico Fire and Police were called to the scene around midday, and a school resource officer was rendering aid to the victim when the officers arrived. He was subsequently transported to the hospital for treatment.
The boy’s mother said the school had been placed on lockdown as a result of COVID-19 contact tracing, and as a result, her son and other students were made to have lunch in a classroom during their math lesson. She said her son was going to dispose of his tray when the female student came up to him from behind.
“That’s when the girl kind of flicked the lighter and lit his hair on fire,” the mother said. The boy sustained burn injuries on his scalp, ear, and other parts of his neck. “He was hysterical; he looked scared,” the mother said. “His pride emotionally and mentally is broken.”
But in the wake of the incident, the boy’s mother said school officials initially swept the case under the rug and were reluctant on pressing charges on the student, WWBT reported. “What if this was your child, what would you be, would you be livid would you be devasted how would you feel?” she questioned. “Would you feel supported by Henrico County Schools?”
Responding to the incident in a statement to parents and students, the principal of the school said the incident was being reviewed to “ensure something like this does not happen again” and they’re “taking appropriate disciplinary action as necessary.”
The principal also explained the boy was “burned by a classmate who was playing with a lighter.” But responding to the statement, the boy’s mother said the school’s response to the incident was unsatisfactory.
“You can’t just brush this under the rug and think that it’s going to just go away, It’s not,” she said. “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 female student faces an unlawful wounding charge.