When Bullying Becomes Battery: Students Set Teen Girl’s Hair On Fire

May 15, 2013  |  

Kids have always had the potential to be cruel and cold-hearted. But it would seem that these days either the instances are being reported more frequently or today’s kids have a higher capacity for evil.

The things kids are doing to their peers go far beyond bullying and cross the line into outright criminal acts. Such was the case with Tatyana Butler. Butler, a 14 year old seventh grader, says the bullying at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, in Waukegan, Illinois, started almost immediately after she began attending the school.

But all of that came to a head last week when two eighth grade girls set Butler’s hair on fire.

The girls were walking behind Butler in the hallway on her way to class when the girls started flicking a lighter behind her head.

Butler relayed the story to a Chicago NBC affiliate:

“I tried to walk faster but then my head got on fire. My friends was like, ‘Tatyana, your hair’s on fire! Your hair’s on fire! and I was like, ‘Are you for real?’ and they just started taking it out.”

Butler says three inches of her hair came out by the clump full and she asked to go home.

What made the situation even worse was the way the school officials decided to handle it.  Instead of allowing Butler to go home they told her to sit there and wait and write down what happened. They didn’t call Butler’s mother, Neysha O’Conner, until two hours after the incident took place.

When she did speak to administrators she asked them to call the police and they refused. So, O’Conner went to the police herself two days after the incident occurred. Officers told her the school should have contracted them immediately after the incident took place.

Instead of taking the manner to the police each of the eighth grade girls were given three day suspensions. O’Conner  believes this is an inadequate punishment. School officials wouldn’t confirm what the girls’ punishment entailed but they did say they followed protocol according to the parent/student handbook.

Watch Butler and her mother, O’Conner, speak about he incident on the next page.

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