Mom: 13-year-old son burned, beaten by bullies

APACHE JUNCTION, AZ - A 13-year old Apache Junction boy showed ABC15 burns on his arm and neck he said were caused by bullies on the school bus.

"They held me down and did it, then said they would beat me up if I told anyone about it," said Reinhard Zorko.

The Apache Junction Police Department confirms a criminal investigation is underway saying the two alleged offenders have been identified, and the police report has been submitted to the Pinal County juvenile prosecutor.

Reinhard said the bullies used a lighter to heat up the erasers on pencils then pressed the erasers into his skin while he was on the school bus.

"It's a nightmare, I am heartbroken to know this happened to my son, it's awful, it's ridiculous," said Pamela Zorko.

Pamela said her son tried to conceal the burns and bullying incident, but he couldn't hide his attitude.

"He changed, just changed, we could see it, he was mean to his sister all of a sudden, mean to us, he just wasn't himself," said Pamela.

Pamela said she saw the marks on Reinhard, but he claimed they were from playing football. Pamela didn't buy it and continued to press the boy for answers until she said he told her about the bullies.

Reinhard attends Cactus Canyon Junior High School and said after reporting the burning incident; the bullies fulfilled their promise of beating him up.

"They socked me a couple times and I wanted to call 911 and one of them tried to take my phone and I said no and he punched me, so I held my phone and they punched me," said Reinhard.

Pamela pulled her son out of school for a few days, but with the district taking disciplinary action against the boys, and the police involvement, she's sending him back.

When ABC15 asked Reinhard if he was ready to return, he simply said yes.

"I plan to avoid them (the bullies) as much as I can," said Reinhard. When asked if he feels safe now at school he replied, "safer, yeah, a little bit safer."

Pamela now wants to form a group for parents to discuss bullying in Apache Junction and ways to combat it.

It's unknown when Pinal County officials will decide whether to continue with charges against the bullies regarding the burning incident.

District officials would not discuss the disciplinary action taken against the students.

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