PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A 13-year-old girl is recovering after a classmate set her hair on fire, while other kids looked on laughing.
The incident happened while she was waiting at a bus stop, two blocks from the Gompers School, last Tuesday. Eighth-grader Nevaeh Robinson says a fellow classmate used a lighter to set her hair on fire.
“When it happened, I panicked real fast, because I thought I was going to die because it burned my hair so fast,” she said.
Nevaeh patted the fire out with her hands as other kids laughed.
“It was kind of traumatizing,” the young girl said.
Nevaeh suffered first-degree burns and her once full head of coily hair has had inches singed off, and there’s a two-inch bald spot, as well as bald patches, around her hairline.
“The doctor told me her hairstyle saved her life,” said her mother Tanya Robinson. “Had it been different, she might not be here.”
Robinson says this isn’t the first incident. Two years ago, a classmate broke Nevaeh’s thumb at another school. This time she wants action taken against her daughter’s bully.
“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.
Robinson wants to see the bully kicked out of school.
“I want expulsion if you’re setting kids on fire,” said Robinson.
Philadelphia police are investigating and the Philadelphia School District said in a statement that “this type of violence is unacceptable.”
“We cannot comment on specific instances of school discipline, however this type of violence is unacceptable. School District did follow its policy and procedure on this matter.”
Nevaeh is currently wearing a scarf to cover up the damage.
“I’d rather have her here with no hair, than not here,” said Robinson.
Nevaeh says she has head pain “from the back, all the way up to the front.” However, she has no plans to quit as Robinson will start homeschooling in a couple of weeks and continue to fight.
“This shouldn’t be swept under the rug,” said Robinson.
October is Bullying Prevention Month.