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Berkeley Classmates Wear Skirts To Honor Teen Set Afire On AC Transit Bus

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Luke 'Sasha' Fleischman (Family photo/CBS)

Luke ‘Sasha’ Fleischman (Family photo/CBS)

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BERKELEY (CBS SF) – Students and teachers at Berkeley’s Maybeck High School wore skirts Friday in solidarity with a senior at the school who was severely burned while on an Alameda-Contra Costa Transit bus earlier this week.

Luke “Sasha” Fleischman, 18, was lit on fire while sleeping in the back of an AC Transit bus as it drove through Oakland around 5:20 p.m. Monday.

Sasha’s mom Debbie and father Karl spent the morning dressing up bus stops with colorful ribbons along the 57 bus route where the attack took place.

“It’s ‘tie a ribbon for Sasha.’ It’s support for allowing people to dress differently if they want to dress differently,” said Debbie.

Richard Thomas, 16, has been charged as an adult in the case. He is accused of aggravated mayhem and felony assault resulting in serious bodily injury, according to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.

Thomas also faces hate crime allegations, prosecutors said.

After the incident, Thomas allegedly told police that he lit Fleischman’s clothing on fire as a homophobic act.

Fleischman suffered severe second- and third-degree burns and was taken to the burn center at St. Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco.

Fleischman does not identify as any gender and was known for wearing for skirts.

“Sasha is extremely well taken care of and is in stable condition,” said Sasha’s farther Karl. “(We are) really overwhelmed with just the love and compassion that people have shown.”

Students at the high school declared Friday “Wear a Skirt for Sasha Day,” school operations manager Laurie Kahn said.

Kahn said many of the 110 students and faculty members on campus wore a skirt in honor of Fleischman.

“The students wanted to do this,” she said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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