A chunk of Devin Lewis's hair caught fire when a student allegedly held a cigarette lighter to it as Lewis rode a Middletown City School District bus on Friday.
The 15-year-old freshman said he was listening to music when someone pulled off his hood, and a student held a flame in front of his face, the Middletown Journal reported. Lewis said the flame made him jerk his head back and that's when another student lit his hair on fire.
"At first I thought they were just holding the lighter in front of my face," Lewis said. "They are always lighting lighters on the bus. I never thought someone would set fire to my hair."
Lewis said he didn't know the names of the students.
Others came to his aid and extinguished the fire. He said he was left with charred hair and had to have his hair cut.
A 15-year-old was charged with aggravated menacing, a 17-year-old was charged with aggravated menacing and assault, and another 17-year-old was charged with obstructing official business, Rob Clevenger, juvenile court administrator, said Tuesday. The three were not identified because they are juveniles. They were being held at a juvenile detention center, pending a hearing Feb. 17.
School officials suspended the three students for 10 days each and recommended expulsion, school spokeswoman Debbie Alberico said.
"We don't tolerate any type of bullying at all," Alberico said. "The fact that these students have been removed from school sends a message."
Alberico said the 6,800-student district is looking at programs to address bullying.
"Bullying happens," Alberico said. "We just have to be more diligent about it."
Information from: Journal, http://wwww.middletownjournal.com