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Berkeley Students, Teachers Donning Skirts for Senior Lit on Fire

By Sasha Lekach (BCN)
Friday November 08, 2013 - 01:52:00 PM

Students and teachers at Berkeley's Maybeck High School are wearing skirts today 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. 

The crime occurred when the bus was near MacArthur Boulevard and Ardley Avenue. 

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 is a senior at Maybeck High School, located at 2727 College Ave. in Berkeley. 

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. 

Students at the high school have declared today "Wear a Skirt for Sasha Day," school operations manager Laurie Kahn said. 

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

"The students wanted to do this," she said. 

At lunchtime, all participants will take a picture in their Sasha-inspired outfits. The photo will be sent to Fleischman, Kahn said.