PASSAIC, N.J. (CNN) — 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 a 12-year-old boy to go back to Mexico.
He then attacked the mom, who was pushing a stroller with a one-year-old inside, knocking her unconscious.
“My life changed in one second. Because now I don’t feel safe in any place,” Beronica Ruiz said.
Ruiz’s right eye is bloodshot. Her eye socket is fractured and bruised after a punch to the face.
After suffering a concussion, Ruiz cannot remember the attack, but her children witnessed it.
It started the day before, when some kids in the lunchroom at the Passaic Gifted and Talented Academy got into an argument.
“These kids were telling the Mexicans that all the Mexicans should be behind the wall,” Alfonso Vasquez said.
Their son was allegedly threatened with violence. He sought help from a teacher.
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.
Attorney Daniel Santiago says “We send our kids to public schools, I think rightfully with the intention that they will be safe.”
The 13-year-old alleged attacker has been charged with assault and was 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 started because of those words ‘They hate us because we are Mexican,” Vasquez said.
The Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office is handling the investigation.
A spokesman for the school district said they can’t comment on student matters.