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New Haven high school student’s hair lit on fire by classmate


Vivian Mabry is demanding answers and action from New Haven Public Schools after she says her 17-year-old son had his hair lit on fire.  The random attack happened October 26 at Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School on College Street.

“They didn’t do anything!”  “They just pretty much acted like they wanted it to go away,” Mabry said.

The victim, who we are not naming due to his age, was sitting in piano class when his mother says a 15-year-old classmate walked in, held a lighter to her son’s head, and lit his hair on fire.

“How did this kid get a lighter in school?” Mabry wondered.  “I want them to rectify this.  I want them to fix it.  I want some sort of plan put in place,” she continued. 

The boy sustained minor injuries from which he has recovered, but mentally?  “I don’t know.  I ask him, he says he’s fine,” Mabry said in an exclusive interview with News 8’s Mario Boone.

Compounding the issue, Mabry says the alleged culprit only got a 5-day suspension and is now back walking the same halls with her son.  As for the school’s response, Mabry calls it at best botched.

“I didn’t receive a letter.  I didn’t receive a phone call.  I didn’t receive anything from the nurse telling me my child was okay or if he was injured.”

A schools spokesman says initial efforts to reach the mother proved unsuccessful, but she has since met with the principal. The school’s Chief Operating Officer, William Clark, wasn’t able to go on camera. Instead, he issued this statement:

“Thankfully this appears to have been an isolated incident with no residual impact or threat to student safety.  School Administration, Police, School Security, and emergency responders and nurse engaged.  Alleged victim was treated at school and did not require any further treatment.  The School Administration continues to cooperate with our partners, students and the parents to fully investigate and resolve the matter with appropriate safety protocols in place.”  

Clark stressed there is no risk at Cooperative High.  

Said Mabry, “this should’ve been handled a lot better.”

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