As if we haven’t heard enough bizarre incidents regarding bullying, a new disturbing case was reported on February 4, in Middletown, Ohio on a school bus.
According to The Middletown Journal, 15 year-old, Devin Lewis was minding his own business on the bus just listening to music, when suddenly his hood was pulled off and a student held a flame in front of his face. When he jerked his head back away from the flame, according to police reports, another male student lit Lewis’s hair from behind with a lighter.
“At first I thought they were just holding the lighter in front of my face,” Lewis said. “They are always lighting lighters on the bus. I never thought someone would set fire to my hair.” But the next thing Devin knew, he felt heat on the back of his head and felt someone blowing his hair trying to extinguish the flames. This terrifying incident left his hair singed almost to the scalp, and caused him to have to get his hair cut.
At the time, Lewis claimed he didn’t know who had bullied him so viciously. But on February 8th, three male students were charged with misdemeanors for this incident. The three boys are being held at a detention center awaiting a hearing on February 17. A 15-year old was charged with aggravated menacing, a 17-year old with aggravated menacing and assault, and another 17-year old was charged with obstructing official business. Their names are being withheld since they are juveniles. Additionally, they were suspended for 10 days each and school officials are recommending expulsion.
The school’s spokeswoman, Debbie Alberico said, “We don’t tolerate any type of bullying at all. The fact that these students have been removed from school sends a message.”
Yet, on Monday, February 8th, just one school day later, another violent incident occurred on a Middletown school bus. According to the police, an altercation erupted between two female students, in which one of the girls, who is nine months pregnant, was allegedly hit along with the bus driver and an aide was bruised in the process. The 16-year old girl responsible for the violence fled from the bus, and the police were searching for her.
Alberico said there was no connection between these two events, but both are under investigation. In the meantime, she said that the school district is looking at programs to address bullying in their schools. “Bullying happens,” Alberico said. “We just have to be more diligent about it.”
Devin Lewis talked to The Middletown Journal about the bullying he experienced: “It is an epidemic. There are a lot of kids out there in the same situation. Nobody should feel like they’re not safe at school.”
In an interview with 22 News, Devin said that he has been bullied for years; he has been called names and been beaten up, but he is speaking up now along with his mother, who both are sending a strong message that, “enough is enough!”
Let’s join them in that strong message because all students have the unalienable right to be safe in their schools and on their school buses.
Enough is enough!