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Archived: Eighth-Grader’s Hair Set on Fire by Bully, Other Kids Laughed

Black females disproportionately experience violence at home, at school, on the job, and in their neighborhoods. Eighth-grader, Nevaeh Robinson, waited at the bus stop with her classmates like she did every day. But, on the morning of Oct. 16, a male classmate took a lighter and set her hair on fire.

Other children laughed as the small-framed girl, frantically, patted out the flames.

“When it happened, I panicked real fast, because I thought I was going to die because it burned my hair so fast,” Nevaeh said.

Miraculously, Robinson suffered from less serious first-degree burns, but the experience has been overwhelmingly traumatizing for the 13-year-old student. The fire singed her naturally, thick and curly mane leaving her with a two-inch bald spot, and bald patches around her hairline, which she covers with decorative headwraps.

“The doctor told me her hairstyle saved her life,” her mother, Tanya Robinson, said. “Had it been different, she might not be here.”

“I called the police as soon as they came home, took her to the hospital, the fire chief came out. I’ve spoken to the school district, I’ve spoken to the principal at the school,” she said.

So far no administrative or legal action has been taken against the savage boy who thought it would be a good idea to take a lighter to someone’s head.

Nevaeh’s mother is pushing for expulsion, but criminal charges should definitely be taken into consideration. The student’s mother called the police as soon as her daughter came home and took her to the hospital.

She added that the student responsible for assaulting her daughter should be kicked out of the school. The older Robinson will now homeschool her daughter.

The Philadelphia School District has yet to issue a statement.

Philadelphia police are investigating the incident. This isn’t the first time a bully has physically assaulted the eighth-grader. Two years ago, Nevaeh was harassed at another school and had her thumb broken.

Black girls are more prone to experience violence in school and are also more likely to not receive the assistance needed to deter the problem. In fact, they are more likely to be punished even when there is a concise line drawn that shows them as the recipients of said violence.

A report titled, “Black Girls Matter”, published by Columbia Law School, specifically, highlighted the effects of the violence against Black girls and the lack of action taken to safeguard them from harm.

One of the key observations in the report states: “The failure of schools to intervene in situations involving the sexual harassment and bullying of girls contributes to their insecurity at school. Stakeholders and participants noted that a heavy emphasis on discipline does little to curb harassing behavior in schools. Instead zero-tolerance policies may exacerbate the vulnerability of girls to harassing behavior because it penalizes them for defending themselves against such acts.”

It should be expected that school administrators and/or law enforcement initiate and take the proper steps to ensure Black girls are safe in schools. That’s yet to be seen.

But the question remains: where is this girl’s protection She is barely entering her teen years and has already been subjected to male toxicity and abuse and nothing has been done.

Ironically, October is Bully Prevention Month.

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