Two Bronx boys beaten by classmates, called ‘Ebola’
Two brothers who recently immigrated to the Bronx from Senegal were beaten so badly by their fellow students that they had to be taken to a local hospital.
Fifteen boys at the school reportedly punched and kicked the boys, calling them “Ebola.”
The attacks only stopped when a school safety officer noticed the beating after about fifteen minutes and stepped in to intervene.
Pape Drame, 13, and Amadou Drame, 11, were then picked up by their father, Ousmane. The two boys are in eighth and sixth grade, respectively. Their father took them to a doctor, but the doctor indicated that he should take his sons to the hospital due to bruising and swelling.
Ousmane has lived in the United States for 25 years; his two sons were born in the United States and returned from Senegal last month to live with him. Senegal has not reported a case of Ebola since August.
In fact, the WHO just declared the West African nation Ebola-free. New York, by contrast, just reported its first case of the outbreak last week.
The boys’ father said that, after the disease reached the United States, other students refused to play and talk with the two kids. Ousmane Drame described the behavior to NBC New York, saying, “If they go to the gym, they don’t want them touching the ball—’Oh, you have Ebola, don’t play with us.” Still, the father didn’t place responsibility on the other students’ shoulders, saying, “They don’t know nothing. They’re babies.”
The African Advisory Council denounced the incident, with member Chris Cooper saying, “Where was the school administrators, where was the school staff when all of this was happening?”
He also noted that the two boys were hesitant about returning to school after the incident, saying, “They were very happy and ready to learn, and this situation that happened has dampened their learning prospects. I know one of the children has said they wanted to go back [to Senegal] because this not what they expected.”
Other schoolchildren of African descent have been the target of discrimination and teasing. Sokhna Seye, also an immigrant from Senegal, indicated that her 9-year-old daughter, who goes to Harlem’s DREAM Charter School, had been the subject of bullying. Seye said, “When [her daughter] came home, she told me, ‘Mommy … one of the students said that I have Ebola. And Mommy, do I have Ebola?’ And I told her no, you don’t have Ebola.”