Teen Sets His Classmate’s Hair Ablaze At Midwood High School; Charged With Felony Assault

(Photo by evalamming / instagram)
(Photo by evalamming / instagram)

[Update 12/14 11am: This article has been lightly edited] Yesterday morning, a 17-year-old student set his classmate’s hair on fire at Midwood High School on Bedford Avenue.

While sitting in class, a 17-year-old boy reached over and set a girl’s hair on fire with a lighter at 9am on Tuesday, December 13, cops said. The victim, also 17, was rushed to Mt. Sinai Brooklyn Hospital where she suffered third-degree burns to her ear and scalp, and singed hair.

“Safety always comes first, and we are working in close partnership with the NYPD,” said an Education Department spokesperson to the NY Daily News.

The fire-sparking student was charged with felony assault, police said, and he is being charged as an adult. Cops found no prior arrests on his record.

Today, New York State is one of just two states that prosecutes and incarcerates 16- and 17-year-olds as adults, though cycling kids through the criminal justice system leads to a 26 percent higher likelihood of reincarceration, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Last year, Cuomo introduced a criminal justice reform to campaign ‘Raise the Age‘ of criminal responsibility to eighteen to “reduce crime, recidivism, and costs to the state.” Read more about how Governor Cuomo’s bill could impact youth incarceration here.

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  1. I agree that nobody is well served by prosecuting teens as adults, but can we have a little sympathy for this girl whose hair was set on fire! Jeez! Odd story to use as a forum for cheerleading for much-needed reform in the criminal justice system.

  2. Exactly. This wasn’t joyriding. This was a horrifying, likely premeditated assault, and the perpetrator deserves to be tried harshly.

  3. If the kid was 7 years old then I could see a light hand in terms of criminal charges but unless this 17 year old has some sort of serious mental disability (some sort of documented medical kind) I don’t see why he would not be tried as an adult. At 17 years old, most everyone knows that you can not set another human being on fire. This guy seems like a danger to society. Actions need consequences or we will end up in chaos.

  4. If he ends up in the adult justice system, he is basically fucked for life. If it can be avoided, it should be.

  5. OMG – what is it with all the mollycodding of teens?!
    I’m sick of listening to these “teen brains aren’t fully matured till they are 20 = why they’re not responsible for the shxt they do” type arguments the permissive parenting contingent likes to spout these days!!! (don’t even get me started on the affluenza defense or the idiot American teen who decided he could graffiti in Singapore(?) and then involved the U.S. government trying to weasle his way out of his punishment, ugh)
    GUESS WHAT? Even children know right from wrong (morally, unless you weren’t raised right) – and by the time you’re 16/17 you should be _fully aware_ that ACTIONS have CONSEQUENCES.
    Anyway, who does shxt like this?!?! Setting fire to someone’s hair?!?! WTF??? This is the kind of kid who probably sets fire to ANIMALS (or worse) and those individuals ALWAYS escalate (ie. potential serial killers). MOST people (note, I said ‘most’ not ‘all’) who end up in jail deserve to be there.

  6. The girl actually dared the boy to set her hair on fire, and he did it. While he obviously shouldn’t have, it wasn’t completely unprecedented.
    Source: I am a student at midwood, and one of my teachers is a dean who dealt with the issue, and he clarified some things.

  7. Actually, I heard that she threatened to harm his father and mother if he didn’t set her hair on fire. She left with no choice.

  8. The current news coverage of this story is so vague that I actually hope what you are saying is true because if not the guy sounds like a future serial killer. I only hope this is a new “dare challenge” because I really don’t want to believe that a 17 year old would set someone’s hair on fire in an act of rage. Seeing as how recent generational youths have entertained themselves by setting themselves on fire with alcohol, attempting to jump over moving cars and basically waterboarding themselves with water filled condoms, setting your hair on fire doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch.

  9. Well your assuming it was a premeditated vicious attack on someone he hated and wanted to hurt. That’s a lot of assumptions. If it was, then you might have a point, but if it wasn’t then its really over kill. Did he try to help put out the fire? Was he in shock at the results? Did he say anything afterward? Was it a malicious crime or just a stupid prank that got out of control because the girl has a product on her hair that was flammable? We don’t know any of this, only an investigation followed by facts presented in a courtroom will determine what likely happened followed by a reasonable and appropriate punishment.

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