Alex Hernandez, a student in Omaha, Nebraska, has been deaf since he was a little baby.
He has been bullied his whole life due to his cochlear implant and surgery scars. This latest incident, however, has the whole community up in outrage.
Hernandez noticed that his backpack, filled with his homework, a tablet, school supplies, money and a cochlear implant battery, was missing. He immediately went to the teachers who reviewed school security footage and discovered that it was taken by two teenage boys.
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“Those students think it’s OK to bully a deaf student, but it’s not. It’s not OK to bully someone who is disabled, deaf or hard of hearing,” Hernandez said. “Or anyone for that matter.”The two boys had dumped his backpack into a toilet.
Hernandez received an outpour of support as the image of his backpack in the toilet went viral on the internet. He received support from many, including some hard of hearing people.
“I wanted to thank all of my friends and those who wrote me for supporting me. I am very happy. It made me feel like I am not alone,” Hernandez said about the kind people who supported him. “They said [they] were here supporting me and they know how it feels to be deaf. So I’m very happy.”
Hernandez and his mother still made the hard decision to pull him out of his school. They felt it was better for him to transfer away for his safety.
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The high school he is transferring to, Ralston High School, has many hard of hearing students who say it is much better.
“I have friends who are hard of hearing that go there and they say it’s good. They get a lot of support and they don’t get bullied,” Hernandez said hopeful for his new school.
Hernandez and his mother hope sharing their story will prevent bullying in the future. The Burke High School administration is currently investigating the issue.
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“Today was my kid — tomorrow it will be somebody’s else’s,” his mother said, fearful of what may happen to other kids.