The awesome kids over at Maybeck High School in Berkeley have come up with a thoughtful way to publicly stand by their fellow classmate Sasha Fleishman, who was set on fire while riding the AC transit bus home from school earlier this week.
They're wearing skirts to school today.
The skirt is significant since Fleishman, who identifies as agender, was wearing a skirt that day of the attack. The high school senior dozed off on the bus and that's when someone set his skirt on fire. The blaze spread Fleishman's his legs, leaving the high school senior with second and third-degree burns.
Police arrested 16-year-old Richard Thomas in connection to the assault. They're not only charging Thomas as an adult, but he's being slapped with hate crime charges, too. Police say it was the skirt Fleishman was wearing that possibly motivated the attack, and they know this because Thomas told police he started the fire because he's homophobic.
Maybeck School Director Trevor Cralle told KTVU that the crime has been crushing to the entire school, which takes pride in being a safe haven for students no matter what. "They know they can be themselves and nobody's going to make fun of them. We don't have any kind of bullying," Cralle said.
Sasha's mother has told media outlets that her son, whose given name is Luke, identifies as agender, neither identifying as male or female.
Fleishman's recovery will be long; his mother says he must have multiple skin grafting surgeries to repair his wounds. Meanwhile, those who don't even know the teen, but heard about what happened, have been lining up to donate money donations to help with Fleishman's expenses. To date, the community has raised $21,270.
They've also left some endearing messages on Fleishman's fund-raising page:
"If you ever want to go skirt shopping, just say the word."
Paul Price, a Maybeck parent, told KTVU that although his son won't be wearing a skirt today, he still supports Sasha all the way.
"Hope that's a gesture that yeah, moves people. People obviously need to be aware," Price told the news station.