Boys Set Girl's Hair on Fire in Class

Superintendent says a teacher was in the room

Two boys have been arrested, accused of setting a 12-year-old girl's hair on fire during class last week at a New Haven elementary school, police said.

The girl was sitting at her desk at the Katherine Brennan School at the end of the school day when two boys, ages 12 and 14, used a cigarette lighter to burn her hair, a police spokesman said.

After the dangerous incident, the girl was taken from the school by ambulance to Yale-New Haven Hospital where she was treated and released.

The girl's mother has told the New Haven Register that her daughter's hair was badly singed and the back of her scalp is sore. 

“She’s not safe,” the mother told the newspaper. “I’m scared for her. I want her to change her school. I want her to stay home. She won’t stay home. She’s never missed a day.”

The two boys have been suspended for 10 days and there will be an expulsion hearing, the school spokeswoman said Monday.

There were questions over whether a teacher was there at the time when the girl’s hair was set on fire. It was not indicated in the police report and the victim’s mom told the newspaper that the teacher was out of the classroom at a meeting and that no adult was supervising the class.

“Her hair was only singed. The teacher didn’t even realize it,” School spokeswoman Michelle Wade told the newspaper.

Dr. Reginald Mayo, Superintendent of Schools, issued a statement Tuesday afternoon saying that a teacher was in the classroom at the time of the incident, which happened at the end of the school day, just before the bell rang and students were about to leave.

“Hence the plausible reason the teacher and other students were not aware of what had happened,” Mayo said.

The principal responded quickly, went to the classroom and kept the students from leaving to question each student, Mayo said.

“Due to this prompt action, the students responsible confessed and were taken into police custody immediately,” she said.

“Finally, I want to make clear that a meeting was set up for the next day (Thursday) between the parent of the female student and the Principal at Katherine Brennan School to which the parent did not show up or call to cancel,” Mayo said. “Again, we are happy this was not a more serious incident and, in the interest of the student, have offered to transfer the student to another school. The parent declined this request.”

Earlier this year, classmates threatened the girl after she refused to have sex with a 13-year-old cousin who is in her class, her mother told the New Haven Register. School officials told the newspaper that there was no record of her being propositioned but that they spoke to her about the dangers of “sexting.”

All the identities aren't being released because of the students’ ages. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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