A mother and her three children were attacked by her son’s bully, who had previously spouted racial slurs to the young boy. The 13-year-old attacker has since been arrested. On June 19, Beronica Ruiz recalls walking home from school in Passaic, New Jersey with her 12 and 8-year-old sons and pushing her 1-year-old in a stroller when they realized they were being followed by three other boys.
Though Ruiz doesn’t remember the attack, her sons watched as she was beaten into unconsciousness. Her 12-year-old son was also swung at, but Ruiz suffered the majority of injuries. The young attacker caused a fracture and bruising to the mother’s face, as well as a concussion.
“My life changed in one second,” Ruiz told Pix11. “Because now I don’t feel safe in any place.”
The attacker and Ruiz’s 12-year-old son had an incident at school the previous day in the lunchroom. Ruiz’s husband says that his son’s classmates claimed that “all the Mexicans should be behind the wall.” The 12-year-old was then threatened with violence.
The 12-year-old sought help from a teacher and was placed in a separate room for the remainder of the day, but school administrators didn’t alert his parents. After the boy told his parents what happened, they spoke with school officials. The vice principal apologized but assured them the situation was diffused. Hours later, the family was attacked.
The 13-year-old has been charged with assault, but Ruiz and her family feel this should be taken as a hate crime.
The school district would not comment publicly, but the family’s attorney, Daniel Santiago, is hoping they will recognize their missteps. “We send our kids to school with the intention they will be safe,” he said. “What’s appalling about that is the school was aware of the incident.”