- On June 19, Beronica Ruiz was walking home from school with her two children in New Jersey when they were attacked by a group of three boys who had been bullying her 12-year-old son, her lawyer said.
- Ruiz was beaten unconscious and left with a concussion and facial fractures, the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement.
- Ruiz’s lawyer, Daniel Santiago, told NJ.com that the students bullied her son the day before and told him to “go back to Mexico.”
- The 13-year-old boy accused of attacking Ruiz has been suspended from school and charged as a juvenile with aggravated assault and simple assault.
- Santiago told NJ.com that he planned to file a lawsuit against the school on the family’s behalf, as “lawsuits are the only thing that large institutions listen to.”
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The day after a New Jersey woman became aware that her son was being bullied in school, she was brutally attacked by his peers, her lawyer says.
“This was a hate crime,” the family’s attorney, Daniel Santiago, told INSIDER.
On June 19, Beronica Ruiz, 35, of Passaic, was walking with her 12-year-old son as she pushed a stroller with her 1-year-old baby in it. As the trio made their way home from Passaic Gifted and Talented Academy School No. 20, three boys who attend the school with her son approached them, Santiago told The Washington Post.
One of the boys verbally attacked the group and then hit both Ruiz and her son, Ruiz told NBC New York.
Santiago told The Post that when Ruiz tried to step in after the 13-year-old boy punched her son, the boy “threw her to the ground,” and she lost consciousness.
The Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office said in a press release on Tuesday that Ruiz had been left with a concussion and facial fractures. Santiago told The Post that Ruiz spent two days in the hospital.
“This was a brutal attack waged by a child whose heart was filled with hate and misdirected anger,” Santiago told INSIDER.
The incident was rooted in school bullying, Ruiz and Santiago say
The day before the attack, the three students told Ruiz’s son to “go back to Mexico,” Santiago told NJ.com.
Ruiz told NBC New York that “they told my son Mexicans should go behind the wall.”
Santiago told The Post that Ruiz and her husband, Alfonso Vasquez, are Mexicans in the US with work permits while they wait for their green cards but that their children are US citizens.
He said that when Ruiz and Vasquez brought their son to school after she was released from the hospital, they were surprised to see the student who they said attacked them, in class, “as if nothing had happened.”
“They spoke to the vice principal again, and the response they received was, ‘Well, he has the right to an education just as much as your son does,'” Santiago told The Post.
That’s when Vasquez decided to seek out the Passaic mayor, Hector Lora, Santiago told NJ.com, adding that the boy was then suspended.
“This incident is being taken extremely seriously. I have met with and spoken personally with the family,” Lora said in a statement to NJ.com. “I have met with my chief of police, local officials and school administration as well as board members to make sure there is accountability and that this family receives justice as well as any help and resources we can provide.”
A suspect has been charged as a juvenile with assault
In the press release, the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office said a 13-year-old boy had been charged as a juvenile with aggravated assault and simple assault and that “he was released to his parents pending an appearance in the Family Court.”
Santiago told NJ.com that he planned to file a lawsuit against the school on the family’s behalf, as “lawsuits are the only thing that large institutions listen to.”
More than that, he told INSIDER, it is the family’s “sincere hope that this incident will generate sufficient public attention to the plight of immigrants in America.”
Representatives for the Passaic Gifted and Talented Academy didn’t immediately return INSIDER’s requests for comment.
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