"This Violence Has Got to Stop": Burned Boy's Mom - NBC 6 South Florida

"This Violence Has Got to Stop": Burned Boy's Mom

The Brewer family needs help with medical bills for teen who was set on fire



    "This Violence Has Got to Stop": Burned Boy's Mom

    Valerie Brewer spoke for every parent whose kid has been bullied, beat up or killed on the Today Show on Thursday morning.

    And the message was simple: there is no future for our children if we don't curb school violence.

    "People around the world have got to do something," said Brewer, whose son, Michael, was viciously set on fire by five other teens earlier this week. "Our children are our future. We have got to get hold of this, please. Help our children."

    The emotional plea came near the end of a five-minute interview, but spoke volumes about many parents' growing frustration with school violence.

    Michael Brewer, 15, couldn't get away from his attackers despite not going to school. His mother said the boy was so afraid of the gang of boys - all 15-years old or younger - that he refused to go to school on Monday and they had set up a conference with school administration for Tuesday.

    That proved to be too late. Brewer was attacked by five other students from Deerfield Beach Middle School and badly burned after the boys held him down, doused him with rubbing alcohol and then set him on fire. Police believe it was all retaliation over a bicycle.

    Brewer suffered second- and third-degree burns over 65 percent of his body and is expected to take more than a year of intense physical therapy to recover from his injuries.

    "It's a complete nightmare," Valerie Brewer said.

    The vengeful attack follows several other instances of school and teen violence that have made national headlines.

    Locally, Coral Gables High School turned into a bloody murder scene after Juan Carlos Rivera was stabbed to death by classmate Andy Rodriguez.

    In Chicago, the school violence issue came to a head after video footage surfaced of a student beaten to death during a brawl at a school bus stop.

    In Brewer's case, authorities acted swiftly to catch the five kids responsible for burning the 15-year-old. Each faces aggravated battery charges and are being held in the Broward juvenile detention center.

    The Brewer family has set up a bank account for any donations to help pay for Michael Brewer's medical bills. They also have set up a Myspace page that will give updates on his progress.

    As for the emotional scars, it will take more than money and web postings to heal the family, Valerie Brewer said.

    "He’s very strong. I am sure he is going to pull through this," she said.

    To make a donation to help Brewer and his family, send a check or make a deposit at any Bank of America branch. Make the check payable to the Michael Brewer Foundation, and note the account number 898035752616 in the memo portion of the check.

    For updates on Michael's condition, go to www.myspace.com/504034193.