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June 26, 2019

13-year-old New Jersey student arrested, charged with attacking classmate and mother

Crime Bullying
Police lights arrests crime Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

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A Passaic County woman was allegedly assaulted and left unconscious by a 13-year-old student after she contacted school administrators about the boy bullying her son. 

NJ.com reported Beronica Ruiz, 35, and her 12-year-old son were allegedly attacked by the 13-year-old boy while walking home from school on June 19. Ruiz had been pushing her 1-year-old daughter in a stroller at the time. The suspect struck her, causing her to fall on the sidewalk and lose consciousness, and then hit her son, according to the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office.

Ruiz was hospitalized for two days and suffered a fractured eye socket, bruises and a bloodied eye, prosecutors said. 

The prosecutor's office said the juvenile suspect was charged with one count each of aggravated assault and simple assault, and was released to his parents pending an appearance in family court, NorthJersey.com reported.

Prosecutors believe the suspect was acting in retaliation after Ruiz and her son reported being bullied at school. The day before the incident, Ruiz's lawyer said she spoke with the vice principal of Passaic Gifted and Talented Academy School No. 20 because her son said three boys had threatened him and said racist comments to him. 

“They were chanting, ‘Mexicans should go back behind the wall,’” Ruiz's lawyer told NJ.com, adding that Ruiz feels the school should have taken more immediate action against the threats, her lawyer said. 

Passaic Mayor Hector Lora issued a statement on the incident, saying the suspect was suspended from school, in addition to the assault charges. 

Here's the full statement Lora released to NJ.com

“As both a father and a husband I am outraged over this incident. As mayor, these are things you wish would never occur in your city or anywhere. This incident is being taken extremely seriously. I have met with and spoken personally with the family. 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. 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.”

A GoFundMe was started to raise funds for Ruiz's medical expenses. By Thursday morning, it had raised more than $1,500. 


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