Highland Springs High School promised an “active and effective zero tolerance bullying prevention policy” and told Martin’s parents not to worry about their son’s safety.
But within days of the school year beginning, a fight broke out after some intense bullying against Martin, and the boy admits to throwing the first punch.
The group of boys retaliated harshly and left Martin in the hospital for days.
“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,” reads the Change.org petition. “This brain injury will permanently impact Eric’s life. He continues to receive medical treatment for his injuries seven weeks later.”
Shortly after being released from the hospital, meetings between Martin’s parents and school administration lead to a bureaucratic nightmare. Martin’s mother said school admins wanted her son to sign a “student threat document” which would have Martin admitting to threatening the school and fellow students.
But even after all the documentation and the hospital visits, Henrico schools enacted their ‘zero tolerance’ policy on violence in the class room and filed assault charges against Martin for his part in the fight.
“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!” explains the petition. ”We are asking the school to drop the charges against Eric and discuss another course of action for addressing the situation.”
After reaching 90,000 signatures, the petition is ready to go before the school board, and will be presented Nov 13th at 6:30pm, in the New Bridge auditorium, 5915 Nine Mile Road, at the next Henrico County School Board meeting.
The Martins also have a GoFundMe page set up to help pay for the medical and legal costs they’ve built up through this process.