OMAHA, Neb. — A deaf student at a Nebraska high school was the victim of bullying last week, KMTV reported.
Alex Hernandez’s backpack was taken during the lunch period on Wednesday, and his tablet, homework, school supplies and debit card were dumped into a toilet.
The backpack also contained his cochlear implant, something he needs to hear.
The photo was widely posted on Facebook and other social media outlets.
After telling school officials the backpack was missing, security at the school reviewed surveillance video that showed two unidentified male students walking off with it.
Hernandez told the station he didn’t know them.
“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 told the station. “Or anyone for that matter.”
Hernandez has been deaf since he was 1 year old. He told the station he has endured years of bullying and jokes, but the latest incident has left him feeling unsafe to return to school.
“This just got out of hand. There’s too much bullying, too much drama, too much fighting, it’s just not nice,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez’s mother told the station the school was later to identify the two students. They claimed they didn’t know Hernandez was deaf. Hernandez’s mother also told the station that one of the students was suspended, while the other is under investigation.
”I just want to talk to them; I don’t want to fight them,” Hernandez said. “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.”
A GoFundMe page was set up to help replace the ruined items, but it has since been closed after reaching the goal of $800.
Omaha Public Schools released a statement regarding the incident.
“We are aware of the situation that occurred at Burke earlier this week.
We take these kind of situations very seriously.
Due to student privacy laws, we are unable to provide specific details regarding the situation, but we do want to assure you that we are working with all parties involved.
The situation was an isolated incident.
OPS strives to provide a safe learning environment for all students.
Here are some of the steps we take to prevent bullying:
- Bullying protocol information is included in the OPS due process handbook
- Bullying prevention and positive relationship lessons are embedded in various curriculum areas throughout a student’s academic career.
- Any student or parent who suspects bullying, should contact their building administrator immediately. “