Drop the Assault Charges Against Bullied Teen, Eric Martin
This petition had 143,688 supporters
Early this fall, Eric Martin was a ninth grader about to begin the next chapter in his life, high school. Before the school year had begun, Eric's parents visited with school staff to discuss concerns over years of documented bullying Eric had endured since first grade. Highland Spring High school administration assured the Martins the school had active and effective zero tolerance bullying prevention policies, and not to worry about their son's safety.
Described by his family as a "soft-spoken, creative 'still waters run deep' personality," his transition into high school was not safe and made difficult when he became a target for bullying and harassment from fellow students. On September 4th, after repeated bullying, including gay slurs and inaction from school staff, a fellow student called Eric an abusive word, then moved closer to him to continue to harass him. Eric asked him to leave him alone, but the bully continued to verbally harass him and then threateningly postured near him. Eric felt intimiated and that he needed to protect himself. Eric admitted to lunging first, but only because he could sense that the bully and his friends were going to physically attack him.
What followed was not a fight, but a horrible beating that left Eric in the hospital for nine days and his assailants with little injury. 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. This brain injury will permanently impact Eric's life. He continues to receive medical treatment for his injuries seven weeks later.
Most surprising is Highland Springs High School, because of their Zero-Tolerance Bullying Policy, has decided to file assault charges against Eric for his behavior, twelve days after the incident occured. Also, they allege that he has made threats against the school and will not permit him back on school grounds without him signing a student threat document. His mom, Mary Martin refused to allow Eric to sign the document. Recently, Eric has been allowed to attend another high school in the district. The Martin family has hired a lawyer to fight against the charges brought against Eric. His first court appearance was earlier this month with his trial date set for November 21st. They have also started a GoFundMe campaign account to help pay for the medical, legal, and education fees.
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! We are asking the school to drop the charges against Eric and discuss another course of action for addressing the situation.
You can make a difference in Eric's life three ways:
1.) Sign this petition and Share it with your friends, family, co-workers!
2.) Consider giving to Eric's GoFundMe campaign!
3.) Write letters of encouragment to Eric at, Letter for Eric, P.O. Box 993, Sandston, VA 23150.
Here are news articles which chronicle Eric's story:
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