Boy, 12, dies after being punched in head by classmates over $1 bet
Police are now investigating the child's death and claims that he was bullied
A 12-year-old Brooklyn boy is dead after being attacked by a classmate who punched him in the back of the head on a “$1 dare.”
Haitian-born Romy Vilsaint lived with his father in New York after his mother sent him to the U.S. for a better life. But sadly, navigating the bullies at the public school he attended ultimately proved to be fatal for the fifth-grader at PS 361. His family says he was the target of violence and aggression by fellow students, ABC-7 reports.
Vilsaint’s cousin, Roodwiny Exantus, said two students attacked the boy on Wednesday and a third kid paid one of the bullies a dollar to punch the victim in the head.
“He told me after he got punched in the head, he reported it to the teacher or the principal, I’m not sure which, and the teacher asked the kid, who said he got paid a dollar from this kid to do that,” Exantus said.
Vilsaint was attacked two days in a row, according to his family. The cousin called police Friday to report the assault. At the time, Vilsaint was conscious but throwing up. He was taken to Kings County Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Police are now investigating the child’s death and the bullying claims.
“I can’t say too much I can’t put no blame on no one,” Exantus said. “I wish when he was in the nursing room, they had called the hospital but I can’t blame nobody.”
Vilsaint left his father a voicemail after being assaulted on Thursday, telling him he had a “huge headache” after a fellow student hit him “real hard” in the back of his head, The New York Post reports.
“This is a horrible tragedy and our thoughts are with the family during this incredibly difficult time,” a spokesperson for the New York City Department of Education said in a statement. “The safety of our young people is our absolute priority and this incident will be thoroughly investigated and we are providing supports to both the family and school community.”
“Romy was only 12 years old and his life was invaluable, worth far more than the $1 dare that cut his life short and left his family searching for answers,” said NYC Councilmember Farah Louis. “This Mother’s Day weekend will be different for the Vilsaint family and his mother miles away in Haiti trying to cope with the loss of her son. This is a tragedy for a family who dreamed of a better life and brighter future for Romy now overwhelmed by grief and anguish.
“No parent should ever have to wonder whether their child will return safe and sound after school. We need to know more about what happened and how to prevent another family from this unimaginable experience. I am heartbroken by this news and extend my deepest sympathies to the Vilsaint family and the P.S. 361 community.”
Vilsaint reportedly moved to Brooklyn in 2017 to live with his father, two sisters, and his cousin’s family. His mother and three other sisters live in Haiti.
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