Monday, November 23, 2009
MIAMI (CBS/AP) Michael Brewer, the 15-year-old teen who police say was set ablaze by five other boys, screamed in agony as a breathless 911 caller pleaded for help because "a little boy just caught on fire," according to a recording released Friday.
WFOR-TV: 911 Call (WARNING: DISTURBING CONTENT) (WAV)
In the most dramatic of four emergency calls released by the Broward County Sheriff's Office, the relentless, guttural cries of the burning teen often drown out the woman who is dialing dispatchers.
"A little boy just caught on fire!" the unidentified woman says, barely able to catch her breath to give her address.
Prompted by the dispatcher during the eight-minute call, the woman asks the boy, "How did this happen?" He cries: "I don't know! I don't know!" Paramedics later ask him who is responsible for his burns, but he again says he doesn't know.
In a second call made by another woman, the dispatcher asks: "They put gas on him and they lit him on fire?" She replies: "Uh-huh."
In all, authorities recorded calls totaling 28 minutes — some rather calm, detached reporting of the facts, while the boy's anguish is evident in others.
Photo: Fifteen year-old Michael Brewer is suffering from burns on three-quarters of his body.
Five teens are charged with aggravated battery in Brewer's burning Monday at a Deerfield Beach apartment complex, which authorities said was prompted by a dispute over a video game that escalated when someone tried to steal a bicycle that belonged to the boy's father.
The teen accused of flicking the lighter after Brewer was doused with rubbing alcohol also faces an attempted second-degree murder charge. All of the teens face the possibility of having their cases moved to adult court.
Brewer's doctor said he is doing as well as can be expected, but faces years of skin grafts, therapy and surgery, and that potentially fatal organ failure and infections are common in cases so severe. Photo: Michael Brewer.
"No Bully" Policy at Philadelphia Schools
By Patricia Hawke Philadelphia Schools has a “just say no” policy, when it comes to school bullies and other related negative student behavior.
Approximately, two thirds of all deaths among children and adolescents in the United States are the result of injury-related causes. These include motor
vehicle crashes, unintentional injuries, homicide and suicide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 126 students committed
a school-associated homicide or suicide between 1994 and 1999. Of these students, 28 committed suicide, of which eight intentionally injured others
immediately before killing themselves. None of these students were involved in gangs. The suicides, now referred to as “bullycide”, were attributed to
school-associated violence, including bullying and other such social stressors. Though the 126 students may seem small for a national statistic, this is only
the tip of the iceberg. It does not address the number of students who develop substance abuse and psychological problems due to being bullied and
harassed at school — some for many years from elementary through high school by the same individual(s). “Pediatrics”, Journal of the American
Academy of Pediatrics, reported in its May 5, 2004, issue that the rise of obesity and overweight in school-aged children is associated with “many negative
social and psychological ramifications.” Peer aggression is at the top of the list. To work toward eliminating this rising national problem in their schools,
Philadelphia schools developed a policy that prohibits anyone from bullying or seriously threatening any member of the school community during school
hours and coming to and from school. This includes: • Repeated threats; • Threats of bodily injury; • Physical or psychological
intimidation; • Extortion of any type; • Fighting or other acts/threats of violence; • Repeatedly posting information about another
individual without his/her consent on the Internet, bulletin boards, school walls, individual’s personal belongings, or any other location — whether it is during
school hours or not; and • Harassment for any reason, but especially due to race, gender, disability, language or physical characteristic. Besides
school personnel, Philadelphia schools have enlisted the help of the students and their parents. They have set up a Bully Hotline that is staffed 24
hours a day for students or parents to report school-related abuse. The hotline serves over 175 languages through a telephonic interpretation
service. Philadelphia schools promise to act on a reported problem within 24 hours of receiving the hotline complaint. For some issues, callers may receive
a follow-up telephone call to ensure the situations were satisfactorily resolved. Philadelphia schools created flyers in nine different languages that describe
the school policy against these negative behaviors, the Bully Hotline, and instructions for non-English language individuals to access the hotline. The eight
non-English languages are the most frequently encountered in Philadelphia schools and represent over 85 percent of their “English as a Second
Language” students. The flyers were sent to the parents of students enrolled in their schools. Additionally, they asked parents and community groups to
further distribute the flyers throughout the city. Philadelphia schools are truly concerned about the safety and well-being of its students. They believe that
all students have a right not to be bullied or harassed. With their “no bully” policy and the hotline, they are well on their way to prevent, address and
eliminate intimidation and harassment of any student for any reason.
About the Author
Patricia Hawke is a staff writer for http://www.schoolsk-12.com, providing free, in-depth reports on all U.S. public and private K-12 schools. Stacy has a
nose for research and writes stimulating news and views on school issues. For more on Philadelphia schools visit
http://www.schoolsk-12.com/Pennsylvania/Philadelphia/index.html. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Patricia_Hawke
Sunday, November 8, 2009
The boy was given the sign after he complained to Ipswich West State School staff that bullies had pushed him down a staircase and dangled him over a second-storey veranda, the Queensland Timesreports.
His mother told the newspaper the sign only encouraged bullies to further torment him.
"My son is terrified of going to school and no-one is helping him," she said.
"The situation is atrocious and I think that giving my son a card to wave at these bullies is completely inappropriate.
"It made my son feel terrible. He told me he didn’t go back to school because he had been told carry this sign about."
The sign was reportedly on a red card and measured approximately 10cms by 15cms.
The mother, who did not want to be identified, said she felt like she had "no protection or support from the staff".
She said she had previously bought stress balls to help him cope with his suffering, but they were stolen by bullies the next day.
Independent childhood behaviour specialist Dr Margie Carter said the use of the "stop" sign would make the child even more vulnerable.
"The mother has done the right thing is speaking out ... she needs to be extra loud in this situation so the child doesn’t become invisible," she said.
An Education Queensland spokesman told the newspaper the "stop" sign was one of many methods used to help children cope with bullying.
"Ipswich West State School implements a range of programs, including one that uses alternative communication methods, to help children — in particular to support students with a disability.”