Drop the Assault Charges Against Bullied Teen, Eric Martin
Petition by Lindsay Ryan
Kingston, United States
Early this fall,
Eric Martin was a ninth grader about to begin the next chapter in his
life, high school. Before the school year had begun, Eric's parents
visited with school staff to discuss concerns over years of documented
bullying Eric had endured since first grade. Highland Spring High
school administration assured the Martins the school had active and effective zero tolerance bullying prevention policies, and not to worry about their son's safety.
Described by his family as a "soft-spoken, creative 'still waters run
deep' personality," his transition into high school was not safe and
made difficult when he became a target for bullying and harassment from
fellow students. On September 4th, after repeated bullying, including gay slurs and inaction from school staff, a
fellow student called Eric an abusive word, then moved closer to him to
continue to harass him. Eric asked him to leave him alone, but the
bully continued to verbally harass him and then threateningly postured
near him. Eric felt intimiated and that he needed to protect himself.
Eric admitted to lunging first, but only because he could sense that
the bully and his friends were going to physically attack him.
What followed was not a fight, but a horrible beating that left Eric
in the hospital for nine days and his assailants with little injury. Eric's
attackers viciously beat him, causing him to have a broken hand and a
traumatic brain injury (TBI), leaving him unconscious by the end.
This brain injury will permanently impact Eric's life. He continues to
receive medical treatment for his injuries seven weeks later.
Most surprising is Highland Springs High School, because of their Zero-Tolerance Bullying Policy, has decided to file assault charges against Eric for his behavior, twelve days after the incident occured. Also,
they allege that he has made threats against the school and will not
permit him back on school grounds without him signing a student threat
document. His mom, Mary Martin refused to allow Eric to sign the
document. Recently, Eric has been allowed to attend another high school
in the district. The Martin family has hired a lawyer to fight against
the charges brought against Eric. His first court appearance was earlier
this month with his trial date set for November 21st. They have also started a GoFundMe campaign account to help pay for the medical, legal, and education fees.
The Martin family, Tammy Motola, their family advocate, myself and
many others do not think the school has chosen the right path. We demand justice for Eric Martin! We are asking the school to drop the charges against Eric and discuss another course of action for addressing the situation.