A Passaic County mother was beaten unconscious by her son’s bully in what she claims was an attack motivated by racism. Beronica Ruiz says she was walking her 12-year-old son home from school, and pushing her baby daughter in a stroller, when the 13-year-old boy confronted them. The incident occurred on the afternoon of June 19.
Police say when Ruiz tried to shield her son, the bully struck her in the face, knocking her unconscious. Ruiz suffered a concussion, a fractured eye socket and bruises. She was hospitalized for two days.
“I told the guy, ‘Stop, don’t bother my son,'” Ruiz told ABC News. “And the child said to me, ‘Shut up,’ …and punched me.”
The attack apparently stemmed from an argument at the son’s school the day before. The father, Alfonso Vasquez, said the bully had been making racist comments to his son.
“[He] said that all Mexicans should be behind the wall,” Vasquez said. “And my son’s answer was, ‘What are you talking about? We are immigrants.’ This all started because of those words. [He] hates us because we are Mexican.”
The Ruiz family said the school did not notify them of the incident. They only learned about it from their son that night. The next day they went to speak with school administrators. The attack occurred later that afternoon.
The 13-year-old alleged attacker was charged with assault and released to his parents, but he was not immediately suspended from school.
“We send our kids to school with the intention they will be safe,” said the family’s attorney, Daniel Santiago. “What’s appalling about that is the school was aware of the incident.”
The school district has not commented on the attack, but Passaic Mayor Hector C. Lora told PIX11 that he’s “outraged.”
“This incident is being taken extremely seriously,” Lora said. “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.”