A Black 13-year-old girl in Philadelphia is recovering from first-degree burns after a classmate set her hair on fire while they were waiting at the bus stop.
Last Tuesday, eighth-grader Nevaeh Robinson was waiting on the bus just a few blocks from school when a fellow classmate used a lighter to set her hair on fire, reported CBS 3 Philly.
“When it happened, I panicked real fast, because I thought I was going to die because it burned my hair so fast,” she told the local news station.
Nevaeh remembers the other kids laughing at her while she frantically put out the fire with her hands.
“It was kind of traumatizing,” Robinson.
Nevaeh, who once head a full head of hair, suffered first-degree burns on her scalp, a two-inch bald spot, and other bald patches around her hairline. The damage would have been worse if Nevaeh’s hair didn’t protect her head.
“The doctor told me her hairstyle saved her life,” said her mother Tanya Robinson. “Had it been different, she might not be here.”
According to Robinson, Nevaeh has experienced bullying from classmates in the past. Two years ago, a classmate broke Nevaeh’s thumb at another school. While Robinson didn’t take stiff action last time, she’s not taking any chances this time around.
“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.
(Photo: CBS 3 Philadelphia)