Staff at Burke High School in Omaha, Nebraska are looking into a reported case of bullying against a student who is deaf. The incident which occurred last Wednesday has drawn national attention and is highlighting a growing problem. The bullies in this incident are going to have a lot to answer for as everyone who has seen these images agree that this goes way beyond simple bullying.
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The bullies took Alexis Hernandez’s backpack while he was eating lunch on Wednesday and dumped its contents, including his school supplies, his tablet, wallet–even his homework–into a toilet. Worst of all was that Hernandez’s cochlear implant was in his backpack.
Without that, he can’t hear.
When he noticed his bag had been stolen, Hernandez notified the administrators, and they searched the school. When they found nothing on a cursory search, they reviewed security footage. The footage shows to male students taking the backpack.
“Those students think it’s OK to bully a deaf student, but it’s not. It’s not OK to bully someone who is disabled, deaf or hard of hearing,” Hernandez said. “Or anyone for that matter.”
Hernandez is accustomed to bullying. His hearing loss singles him out, and kids zero in on it and pick on him.
“This just got out of hand. There’s too much bullying, too much drama, too much fighting, it’s just not nice,” Hernandez said.
What Hernandez found most upsetting was the loss of a project for his English class.
”I was very upset because I know I work really hard on my project and homework because I just want to make my mom to be happy and know that I did a good job on the homework,” he said.
The school has identified the students. One has been suspended.
”I just want to talk to them,” Hernandez’s mother says. “I don’t want to fight them. I want to talk it out. And talk to their parents about them so they can tell them they need to teach them the right thing to do,” she said.
Hernandez’s friends have set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to replace the ruined items, but the account was closed soon after.
The Omaha Public Schools released a statement about the bullying, saying, they’re taking this “very seriously.”