NYC Leaders Say African Children Bullied At School In Wake Of Ebola Scare
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Community leaders are calling for more protections after two brothers from Senegal were allegedly bullied and beaten at their new school in the Bronx in the wake of the Ebola outbreak.
A father of two middle school-aged boys said his children were beaten and harassed at I.S. 318 in Tremont on Friday by a pack of kids who told them they have Ebola, 1010 WINS' Sonia Rincon reported.
The boys, who are in the sixth and eighth grades, were rushed to the hospital with severe injuries, according to a press release from the African Advisory Council.
Local Leaders Call For Action After Ebola Scare Appears To Spark School Bullying In The Bronx
The brothers, who were born in America, have spent most of their lives in Senegal and recently returned to the U.S. to go to school, Rincon reported. The two brothers, Amadou, age 11, and Papa, 13, have been back in America for about a month.
The boys' father, Ousmane Drame, said his sons have been enduring weeks of harassment from their classmates.
"As soon as they go to the gym, they don't want to touch the ball, they say guys have Ebola, don't touch the ball," Drame said.
Drame said that his family came to New York from Senegal to chase the American dream.
"These kids are here for one thing, study, study, study, and be somebody," he told CBS 2's Tracee Carrasco.
When one of the brothers sneezed in the lunch room an 8th grade student shouted 'Ebola' and mocked the boys as other students piled on with taunts, and then a fight broke out, police sources said.
He claims the school did very little about the attack and didn't even file an incident report, Rincon reported.
The Department of Education said it is investigating.
"This incident has been reported, we are investigating and we take this matter very seriously," the department said in a statement. "DOE School Safety staff are on site today to mediate this incident and ensure the safety and support of these students, school staff and their families."
The NYPD told 1010 WINS they have no record of any formal complaint.
Local elected leaders are calling the incident a hate crime and want law enforcement involved, Rincon reported. They're also asking the schools chancellor to take action and get the word out to schools to prevent bullying of African children.
"As citizens of this country and New York State, we ask for the equal protection guarantee under the law," the AAC said.
A Senegalese mother has also claimed that her 9-year-old daughter was harassed at school in Harlem and when she came home she asked, "Mommy, do I have Ebola?"
A spokesman for the African Advisory Council called for increased education to reduce hate.
"We need an active program put in place within these schools to teach the kids and to teach the parents also, because these kids are obviously getting it from somewhere. We do not need any hate crimes in our community," Charles Cooper said.
The brothers have not returned to school since the incident. The DOE told CBS 2 that school safety staff were on site to mediate and ensure the safety and support of the students.
The epidemic in West Africa has killed more than 4,900.
A single case of the virus was reported in Senegal, but earlier this month, the World Health Organization declared Senegal free of Ebola virus transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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