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Teen's hair set on fire by older students at school

May 10, 2013 at 9:18 AM

WAUKEGAN, Ill., May 10 (UPI) -- An Illinois woman said school officials did not adequately discipline two girls accused of setting her daughter's hair on fire in class.

Tatyana Butler, a 14-year-old seventh grader, said she was walking into class when two eighth-grade girls behind her began flicking a lighter Tuesday.

"I tried to walk faster but then my head got on fire," she told WMAQ-TV, Chicago. "My friends was like, 'Tatyana, you hair's on fire! Your hair's on fire! and I was like, 'Are you for real?' and they just started taking it out."

Clumps of her hair fell out from the incident and when the teen said she asked to go home, school officials at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Waukegan made her wait two hours before calling her mother.

Neysha O'Connor, the teen's mother, said she should have been called earlier for an incident of this nature. She said she asked the school to file a police report, but officials declined, so she went directly to police on her own, WMAQ reported Friday.

"[School officials] waited two hours to call me. They didn't make the report until after told them that I was going to go to the school board and get a lawyer," O'Connor said. "Then they decide to make a report. I don't think they handled it well."

O'Connor told WMAQ she didn't think the three-day suspension given to the two eighth-graders was adequate. School officials declined to confirm the punishment, but said the situation was "dealt with according to district policy."

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