Brandonn Baez, 10, a fifth grader and victim of bullying at New Rochelle's Trinity Elementary School is speaking out as an Ambassador for Love Our Children as part of the non-profit organization's Anti-Bullying Campaign. The then-fourth grader was the victim of an assault last year when an ongoing bullying situation went from verbal to physical. Now he is turning his experience into an affirmation of his effort to overcoming bullying in his school.
Love Our Children is the leading national nonprofit organization that honors and respects children. It has become the go-to prevention organization for all forms of violence and neglect against children in the U.S. Celebrities including Jon Bon Jovi, Matt Damon, Halle Berry, Kelly Ripa and many others support Love Our Children.
After he was assaulted last June by another student on the school playground, Brandonn was treated for six hours at Lawrence Hospital before being released with a broken blood vessel in his nose and two permanent teeth knocked loose, according to his mother. He continues to receive ongoing medical treatment to deal with his injury. The assailant, another 4th grader, was later arrested and referred to New Rochelle Family Court. His name was withheld due to his age.
According to the family, there have been further incidents involving the student who attacked Brandonn. In the past few weeks, the student was walking on the campus at Trinity School, saw Brandonn's mother and shoved her. The family made a report of the incident to the school and New Rochelle police. According to family members, the detective who took the report said the child was well-known to the police having been arrested 12 times.
At a Trinity PTA meeting on March 20, according to Brandonn's grandmother, Assistant Principal Inas Morsi-Hogans confirmed that there was another incident involving the same child. The child has since been expelled from the school for the rest of the year following a Superintendent's hearing.
For Brandonn, he says the bullying began in early 2011 when two boys in his classroom teased him, called him names including the "n-word", shoved and hit him and stole his belongings. The student who assaulted Brandonn is black. Brandonn is Puerto Rican. The assault took place just days after Brandonn's mother and grandmother met with school officials to make them aware of the bullying situation, an account confirmed by Trinity Principal Rolando Briceño.
Through it all Brandonn has refused to transfer to a different school. He will graduate from Trinity in June.
According to Maria Baez, an committee was to be implemented to address bullying issues but only one meeting was held.
"Mr. Briceño has not done anything to implement the Bullying Committee." said Maria Baez. "My grandson continues to get bullied and it is brought to his attention, and nothing has been done to address this issue."
Briceño was denied tenure by the New Rochelle Board of Education and resigned last week. In his farewell message to parents, Briceño listed the implementation of Positive Behavioral Intervention Systems initiatives at the school. All New Rochelle elementary schools have adopted Olweus Anti-Bullying training which is funded through a federal Safe Schools, Healthy Students grant.
Asked how she felt about Briceño leaving?, Baez said it made her sad.
"It's sad because he failed to protect our children," she said. "When you fail to protect our students you have to deal with the consequences."
The victim's grandmother is Maria Baez, a former member of the New York City Council from the 14th District of The Bronx where she represented Fordham, Kingsbridge, Morris Heights, and the West Bronx. She served on the New York City Council for 8 years, from January 2002 to December 2009. She had previously worked as chief of staff for Assemblyman Jose Rivera and it the first Hispanic woman appointed to head the Bronx Board of Elections. She has since relocated to New Rochelle.
Last December, the Baez family has initiated a lawsuit against the district in New York State Supreme Court. The family's attorney of record is Young & Bartlett, LLP on White Plains, NY. A preliminary conference was held on February 16th in White Plains, NY. The next preliminary conference is scheduled for September 15, 2012 before Judge Mary Nicolas-Brewster.
Schools officials would not comment publicly on the matter due to privacy and legal considerations.
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Posted By: Lefty |
11/08/12 12:31 PM
Way to go Mama Baez!