A mother in New Jersey says she was beaten unconscious by one of three students who she reported to middle school administrators for making bigoted, threatening comments towards her son.
An attorney for Beronica Ruiz, 35, told NJ.com that she was attacked in Passaic County on June 19 with her 12-year-old son and 1-year-old baby, who she was pushing in a stroller at the time. A day earlier, Ruiz had reported a 13-year-old and two other students at Passaic Gifted and Talented Academy School No. 20 for allegedly taunting her seventh-grade son with racist comments in the cafeteria.
“They were chanting, ‘Mexicans should go back behind the wall,’” attorney Daniel Santiago claimed, adding that the trio threatened Ruiz’s son after he retorted, “We all come from immigrants.”
— NJ.com (@njdotcom) June 25, 2019
Santiago said the boy reported it to school officials, who not only failed to contact his mother but separated him in a classroom or office for the remainder of the day. Ruiz reportedly confronted the vice principal but he claimed they were too busy to call. Further, officials said they didn’t discipline the attacker because they “had just as much right to an education as her son,” according to the attorney.
Santiago said it was only after the bullied boy’s father contacted Mayor Hector Lora after Ruiz was injured that the attacker suspended from school. It’s unclear what happened to the two other students who allegedly bullied the boy.
Lora told the North Jersey Record that Ruiz was injured when she intervened as the 13-year-old confronted her son after she picked him up from school.
NJ.com reported that Ruiz was hospitalized for two days for a fractured eye socket, bruises, and bloodied eye. Lora noted that the mother has no health insurance.
A spokesman for the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed to the news outlet that the suspect was charged as a juvenile with aggravated assault and simple assault.
Santiago explained to the Record that the couple is legally in the country on work visas and have completed paperwork to obtain permanent residency. He also revealed plans to file a lawsuit against the school on the family’s behalf.
“This is absolutely a hate crime,” he said.
“Lawsuits are the only thing that large institutions listen to.”
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[Featured image: Beronica Ruiz/WNBC video screengrab]