Mom outraged after student sets daughter's hair on fire

Mom outraged after student sets daughter's hair on fire

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A Memphis mother is outraged after she says a boy at Fairley High School set her daughter's hair on fire around lunch time Wednesday.

Phyllis Elam says the boy took a cigarette lighter to her daughter's hair in between classes.

Her daughter, Derykha Elam, thinks her classmate did it for attention. She says he's been bragging about it on Facebook since the attack.

"This is not no laughing matter," said Phyllis, who claims her daughter was already afraid of fire before the attack.

Derykha says she had no problems with the fellow sophomore before he put the cigarette lighter to her hair in the hallway.

"I thought I was fixing to die," said recalled.

Because of the prank, her hair broke off in two places, where it's now about a half-inch long.

"My baby could have had facial injuries. What if she had a nylon shirt on? What if she had weave in her hair?" Phyllis asked. "Her whole head would have set on fire. It would have gotten to her face."

To make matters worse, students are poking fun on Facebook, saying, in part, "Aye they say she got a PATCH missing back there."

"What if it would have happened to their child? If it happened to them, they wouldn't be putting this stuff on Facebook talking about she deserved it. Is she dead? No," said Phyllis, who argues that the attack could have been prevented.

She claims that if the school had metal detectors, the boy would not have made it inside the school with the lighter.

Green Dot Public Schools couldn't say if metal detectors are a consideration.

"That's something that might come up. I also can't say. It will or it won't," said Gabriel Sanchez, the director of communications for Green Dot Public Schools.

"I wouldn't even want that to happen to your child and I don't know your child," explained Phyllis.

The sophomore is charged with simple assault. He told police he was playing with the lighter and accidentally set Derykha's hair on fire. Police say he's suspended and has been issued a juvenile summons.

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