An Omaha, Nebraska student with hearing loss reported that he was bullied by two students at school, resulting in damaged property. Other students publicly supported Hernandez.
Alex Hernandez, a student at Burke High School, said that someone took his backpack during lunch at school, according to a report by KMTV.
His belongings were later found in a toilet, and the picture of it and a plea against bullying, possibly posted by his sister or someone close to him, went viral.
According to the KMTV report, his backpack contained “his tablet, school supplies, homework and debit card in a toilet. It also contained his cochlear implant – without it, he can’t hear.”
A later report appeared to clarify that the assistive technology involved was not the cochlear implant, but a battery for it, indicating the media’s difficulty in learning about technology used by people with hearing loss or deafness.
Hernandez made a stand against bullying: “Those students think it’s okay to bully a deaf student, but it’s not. It’s not okay to bully someone who is disabled, deaf or hard of hearing,” said Hernandez in the report. “Or anyone for that matter.”
According to a report from WGN, the two male students who took Hernandez’s backpack didn’t know him or that he was deaf.
Another student expressed his disapproval. “I actually saw it on Facebook, and it just absolutely sickened me,” said student Devon Fuller. “I can’t believe people at school would actually do that kind of thing,” according to the report.
Hernandez, according to a report from KMTV, is considering transferring to a school his friends tell him is more supporting of students who are hard of hearing.
The Deaf Community reached out to Hernandez. “They said they felt sorry for me and had me in their prayers. They said [they] were here supporting me and they know how it feels like to be deaf. So I’m very happy,” he said.
Despite community caring, Hernandez has “gone through years of bullying due to his disability.”
His mother plans to file a police report. “The bullies think they can continue with this behavior,” said Alex’s mother. “They need to be reminded that there are consequences to stealing and bullying.”
According to a WGN report, students quickly created a GoFundMe page to raise money for school supplies for Hernandez and reached their $800 goal in several days.