13-Year-Old Charged in Possible Hate Attack on New Jersey Mother

Elias Hubbard
June 27, 2019

The student verbally accosted them, and when Ruiz told him to stop, he punched her. Ruiz was knocked unconscious, waking up on a stretcher.

The family says that the attack happened June 19 while Beronica Ruiz-Vasquez was walking with her 12-year-old son and pushing her 1-year-old daughter in a stroller. Three boys trailed behind - and he recognized them.

"These kids were telling the Mexicans that all the Mexicans should be behind the wall", Vasquez said.

The 13-year-old alleged attacker was charged with assault and released to his parents, but he was not immediately suspended from school.

The vice principal admitted to the mother that he should have called them but that he had become busy with other matters, Santiago said.

"This was a brutal hate crime, and it was committed by a 13-year-old", Santiago said.

Now the woman and her husband are speaking out.

Ruiz suffered a fractured eye socket, bruises and a bloodshot eye that remained red for days after the attack.

Passaic Mayor Hector C. Lora told PIX11 he has met with local authorities and the school administration.

"This incident is being taken extremely seriously". "And the child said to me, 'Shut up, '... and punched me".

However, Santiago maintains that the violent attack could have been avoided if the school had responded differently to the initial bullying complaint, noting that he is planning to file a lawsuit on behalf of the family.

The attack stemmed from an argument on June 18 in the lunchroom at Passaic Gifted and Talented Academy Public School No. 20.

The 13-year-old suspect is African American, Santiago said.

"When the mother stepped in front of the juvenile actor, he struck her causing her to temporarily lose consciousness and fall to the sidewalk", said Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes in a statement (pdf).

But even after the vicious attack that put Ruiz in the hospital, the alleged bully was still in school. "And my son's answer was, 'What are you talking about?"

The vice prinicipal also allegedly refused to suspend the student before the attack and said the attacker 'had just as much right to an education as her son'. "The teacher grabbed the attention of a security guard, and they essentially sequestered my client's son in a room for his own safety".

Ruiz said the trouble started at the school when her son, who is a US citizen, was bullied.

The mother then went to the school and complained to a vice principal and demanded to know why school officials had not informed her about the threats of violence, Santiago said.

News 12 New Jersey reached out to the Passaic school district for comment.

The information was released following a news report in which Beronica Ruiz described being attacked after picking up her 12-year-old son from The Gifted and Talented Academy on Monroe Street in Passaic around 5 p.m. last Wednesday.

But nobody called the child's parents, he said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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