In New Jersy, 25-year-old Beronica Ruiz was hospitalized for two days as a result of injuries inflicted upon her by a 13-year-old bully who assaulted her son then attacked her when she moved to defend him.
Ruiz’s son, a 12-year-old who attends Passaic Gifted and Talented Academy School No. 20, was being bullied the day before by a group of children who at lunch on June 18, chanted at him:
“Mexicans should go back behind the wall.”
Her son responded to the chant saying:
“We all come from immigrants.”
This enraged the bullies. They began threatening him with violence.
what have we become?— emiparm (@emmasnonna) June 26, 2019
The 12-year-old then approached a teacher and told them he feared for his safety. In response, the staff sequestered him away from the other children, issued no punishments to the bullies and neglected to inform the child’s parents of the incident.
When Ruiz’s son told her about his ordeal, she was furious she hadn’t been contacted. She reached out to an assistant vice principal, who told her the staff had simply forgotten, according to the family’s lawyer, Daniel Santiago:
“He essentially said my bad, my mistake.”
OMG...Enough is enough!— Wendy's Piñatas & Party Decorations (@Wendys_pinatas) June 26, 2019
This racial hatred has to stop!
What happens to us as a nation? ????
The next day, Ruiz picked her son up from school and began to walk him home, rolling her one-year-old daughter alongside them in a stroller. As they were walking, they noticed that the group of three bullies who threatened Ruiz’s son the day before was following them.
hate starts early.— Raptor (@Raptornx01) June 27, 2019
It was then that, according to Santiago, the 13-year-old leader of the group of boys approached Ruiz’s family and punched her son in the head.
In response, Ruiz tried to defend him:
“Then, as any mother would, after [he] was knocked down, Beronica got between the assailant and her son, trying to stop the attack. And the young boy punched Beronica in the face and threw her to the ground.”
Ruiz struck her head against the sidewalk and she lost consciousness. The 13-year-old who attacked them fled the scene.
The mother was hospitalized for two days. Meanwhile, as her son returned to school, he found his attacker was still in classes, having received no punishment. The boy’s father, Alfonso Vasquez, reached out to the school to inquire why there were no consequences for the bully.
He was told:
“Well, he has the same right to an education as your son does.”
The family then called Passaic Mayor Hector Lora, who reached out to the school and, according to Santiago, made sure action was taken:
“It was only after the mayor got involved that the school suspended the child.”
Lora, who was “outraged over the incident,” made it clear he would not stand for the behavior displayed by the school and the 13-year-old bully:
“The details regarding what led up to this incident remain under investigation. However, one thing is very clear: what occurred to this mother is unacceptable and whatever we need to do as a city, as a community, to do better by our families and our children, we will do.”
After Lora brought the issue to the media’s attention, the school offered to pay her medical bills since the family does not have medical insurance. But their offer was too little too late for Ruiz, who is filing a lawsuit against the school.
Her lawyer told the press:
“Clearly there was negligence.”
Ruiz’s 12-year-old child, who is now having trouble sleeping, is now in a predicament he did nothing to deserve. He, understandably, feels unsafe at the school where the bullies who assaulted his family still attend, but may not have any other real options.
As Santiago described:
“His father is a landscaper, his mother is a homemaker. Economically, they can’t just send their kid to a private school.”
“This school was supposed to provide an opportunity, and now they’re faced with the untenable decision of whether to pull their child out of a school where he doesn’t feel safe. It’s a very tragic situation, and one that they shouldn’t have to face.”
The sad fact is that children learn from their parents. Racism is a learned trait and something we, as a society must ween ourselves off of.— rGosine (@DrGosine) June 27, 2019
But the most egregious part of this is the lack of respect for someone's mother.
The 13-year-old was later “charged as a juvenile with aggravated assault and simple assault.” He was released to his parents and will soon appear in family court to answer for his actions.
Santiago stated that the young boy has become yet another victim of a culture of hate:
“I don’t know that a child is able to fully understand and comprehend the implications of his words and saying things like ‘You should go back to Mexico.”
“But this was clearly generated from hatred, and clearly this young man has a great deal of anger in his heart, and that’s sad for a whole other list of reasons.”
“It does not help that adults that are in authority and have voices use those voices to spread rhetoric that is racially divisive and ethnically charged — that doesn’t help.”
His parents are to be blamed for his behaviour.— Anita Cecil (@whizzy16) June 27, 2019
welcome to @realDonaldTrump's America . . .— Chad (@ChadBrooker88) June 27, 2019