130,000 signatures presented to Henrico school board, defending beaten student

Posted at 10:33 PM, Nov 13, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-14 06:50:14-05

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- More than 130,000 people have signed a petition in support of a Henrico County high school student who was beaten-up at school. The signatures and personal bullying stories in support of former Highland Springs High School student Eric Martin are posted on

"It's really inspiring," Eric's mom, Mary Martin, said.

The 14-year-old student was beaten in September by another student at school. Sources said Martin was beaten after he made a racial slur toward the student and threw a chair at him.

But in Eric’s defense, his mom said her son snapped after being bullied and called names since he was in first grade.

"I'm hoping the school board will recognize the bullying is more out of control than what they think it is," Martin said.

Martin and the other student both face assault charges in Henrico County, but Martin's mom wants the charges dropped.

So does anti-bullying advocate Tammy Motola. Motola presented the petition to Henrico's School Board Thursday night and said something needs to change.

"We have 130,000 reasons right here for them to look at a policy that's not effective," Motola said.

Andy Jenks, the spokesperson for Henrico County Schools, said the system takes bullying seriously and does not tolerate it.

"We are putting in place mechanisms to stop bullying before it starts," Jenks said.

He added that the board would most likely ask the administration to make sure their anti-bullying programs are working, which Martin said is a start, but doesn't go far enough.

"Do something so it won't happen to another child," Martin said.

A source close to the situation said that in addition to Martin and the other student being charged with assault by police, two additional students were suspended from school.

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