PASSAIC, N.J. — A 13-year-old boy has been charged after police say he assaulted a mother and her son on a New Jersey street.
While walking home from school, the bully allegedly told the 12-year-old boy to “go back to Mexico” and then attacked the mom who was pushing a stroller, knocking her unconscious.
Now the woman and her husband are speaking out.
Beronica Ruiz said, “My life changed in one second. Because now I don’t feel safe in any place.”
Ruiz’s right eye is bloodshot. Her eye socket — fractured and bruised after a punch to the face by an alleged bully who first targeted her 12-year-old son.
“He say, ‘Mom, the kids follow us,” she said.
Ruiz was pushing a stroller on June 19 with her 1-year-old inside, walking with her two sons along Lexington Avenue in Passaic when her attacker, a 13-year-old boy, allegedly knocked her unconscious.
Ruiz suffered a concussion and can’t remember the attack, but her children witnessed it all.
Alfonso Vasquez said, “She was unconscious with my baby in the stroller.”
It started the day before when some kids in the lunchroom at the Passaic Gifted and Talented Academy got into an argument.
Vasquez said, “These kid were telling the Mexicans that all the Mexicans should be behind the wall.”
Their son was allegedly threatened with violence. He sought help from a teacher.
But even after the vicious attack that put Ruiz in the hospital, the alleged bully was still in school.
The family feels complaints to school officials were dismissed.
“We send our kids to public schools, I think rightfully with the intention that they will be safe,” Attorney Daniel Santiago said.
The 13-year-old alleged attacker has been charged with assault and released to his parents. But this family feels this was more than just a simple assault — it was a hate crime.
“I think it all start because of those words: ‘They hate us because we are Mexican,'” Vasquez said.
The Passaic County prosecutors office is handling this investigation. A spokesman for the school district said they can’t comment on student matters.