18-year-old "agender" Maybeck High School student Sasha Fleischman suffered serious burns on Nov. 4 after allegedly being set on fire while riding an AC Transit bus by 16-year-old attack suspect Richard Thomas, who is now facing hate-crime charges for the attack.
A day after being released from the hospital, 18-year-old Sasha Fleischman talked about the moments when another teen set Sasha's skirt on fire, telling KTVU a childhood lesson may have proved to be a life-saver.
Thanksgiving was Sasha Fleischman's first full day at home in three and a half weeks. "I'm really glad to be home. I mean, although it wasn't so bad in the hospital," Fleischman tells KTVU Thursday.
Sasha has spent the last 24 days in the burn unit at a San Francisco hospital.
On November 4th, on an AC Transit #57 bus, someone set the agender teen's clothes on fire.
"I look down and my skirt is on fire. I freak out because I am on fire," Sasha recalled.
Sasha was able to put out the flames by using the childhood tip of stop, drop and roll and with the help of some other passengers.
"It wasn't a huge fire, but it was pretty scary."
Richard Thomas, 16, has admitted to setting Sasha on fire, and is currently facing felony charges in adult court. His attorney has made a motion to have it moved to juvenile court. The very forgiving and understanding Sasha agrees with that move.
"There's a reason that we have different judicial systems for juveniles and for adults," Sasha tells KTVU.
Now, even with burns over much of both legs, Sasha says there's not a lot of pain. "Because of my injuries, I'm going to be a little bit less, I can't walk as fast. And I need to be more careful, physically," Sasha said.
Joel Baum with Gender Spectrum, an East Bay group that works to educate school kids about gender identity variation, spoke to KTVU Thursday.
"To me, the lesson of this tragedy is that we have a long way to go as a society, to make room for people to simply be themselves," Baum said.
Sasha's neighbors - including those who don't use Sasha's preferred pronoun - are relieved that Sasha is home.
"I thought it's good. Hopefully, he get, soon he get well, and go to school and get back to his normal life," said Lock Tam.
Some tragedies at hospitals might be unavoidable, but a mother and father who lost their 21 month old daughter at Children's Hospital Oakland say it's what happened after their daughter's death that has continued to torment them.