Bullied 14-Year-Old Fights Back and Gets Severely Injured - Now He Faces Assault Charges

Human Rights

Fourteen-year-old Eric Martin of Henrico, Virginia had reportedly been bullied for years at school, hounded with homophobic slurs and constant harassment. One day in September he stood up to his bullies, and physically confronted them. Although his family says that he did indeed start the fight, his bullies walked away with no real injuries, but Martin was so badly hurt that he ended up hospitalized.

Martin's injuries are severe enough that even seven weeks after his beating he is still receiving care from medical professionals, for a traumatic brain injury and broken bones.

But school officials and local police delivered another blow to Martin by charging him with two counts of assault and refusing to allow him back into the school until he signs a written statement saying he threatened the school (which he denies). Local news station NBC-12 did a short report on the case. Watch it:

Martin is currently attending a different high school, and went to court for the first time last week to hear the charges against him. A judge has set a trial date for November 21st. His family's advocate, Tammy Matola, reflects on the fact that the school failed to provide a safe environment for him, which is what led to the confrontation in the first place:

The ugly truth of it all is that kids are just not speaking up anymore. After all, given the current tolerance for such otherwise intolerable behavior, why should they? When they do, too often nothing happens to the perpetrators, and they are only ostracized even more. I’m truly confused as to a school’s definition of zero tolerance. I’m over their anti-bullying policies. What’s the point in any policy if it’s not mandated and enforced? I know, with absolute certainty, that every kid deserves to walk into a school and receive an education without prejudice or persecution. For Eric Martin that day is long overdue.

The family has set up a legal fund for Martin and is accepting donations. You can also sign the petition to have the assault charges dropped.

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