Despite a beating that sent him to the hospital, 10-year-old Aiden Vasquez of Desert Hot Springs, California, had a simple reason for refusing to fight back, according to KMIR.
“I told my mom, I got it from ‘Star Wars,’ that it’s not the Jedi way,” Aiden told the station.
His stand drew the attention of Mark Hamill, who starred as Luke Skywalker in the “Star Wars” films.
“SHOUT OUT to Aiden (Vasquez) for his courage & wisdom in the face of adversity,” Hamill wrote on Twitter. “I’m so proud of you for showing that you can be a Jedi in real life. Congratulations, Aiden — The Force will be with YOU ... Always!!! Your fan, mh.”
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Aiden’s mom, Lizette Casanova, isn’t backing down from the issue, and is taking it to school officials over what she calls three years of bullying at Two Bunch Palms Elementary School, reported the Desert Sun.
On Tuesday, she spoke out at a Palm Springs Unified School District board meeting about the problem, according to the publication.
As a photo was being taken to honor administrators for promoting a safe school environment, Casanova suggested that Aiden, his face still bruised, join them, the Desert Sun reported. She later spoke directly to the board.
“I want to tell you about how the kids follow him and chase him and tell him to commit suicide,” Casanova told the board, according to the publication.
Aiden also took the podium, reported KESQ.
“All I want is for every single kid to be safe,” he said, according to the station. “That’s all I want.”
Board members assured Casanova and her son they were looking into the issue, reported the Desert Sun. Police also are conducting an investigation.
“There is not a single person with this school district who would not help protect your children,” said board member Richard Clapp, according to the publication. “We will continue to fight this battle.”
But Anne Kalisek, the district’s executive director for student support services, said Aiden’s case does not meet the legal definition of bullying and called it an isolated incident, reported KESQ.
Aiden was beaten up Monday after a boy took his backpack and he tried to retrieve it, reported KMIR. He ended up with a swollen black eye and a cut requiring stitches.
Casanova posted Aiden’s photo to Facebook along with an account of the beating. As of Wednesday morning, her post had been shared 16,000 times and received 26,000 likes and other reactions from fellow users.
Casanova said school officials told her the boy who hit Aiden had received a three-day suspension, reported the Desert Sun.