New York, NY - The family of Joel Morales, the 12-year-old boy who hanged himself last year over constant bullying, are now suing the boys that allegedly bullied him.
Morales’ mother, Lisbeth Babilonia, has filed suit against the city of New York, the Board of Education and the boys she says bullied her son to death – named in the suit as Kenneth, Stephen, Omar and Elijah ‘Doe’, along with the boys’ parents
According to the suit, Joel’s small size and fragile nature made him a perfect target for school bullies. “Joel was a small-framed fragile boy who sometimes stuttered and had problems with fine motor skills. He was extremely short and underweight for his age,” the suit says.
His family says they complained to the Department of Education multiple times a week to have something done about the constant harassment Joel was experiencing at Public School 102.
“He told me about it many times,” Babilonia said. “I went to school and spoke with the teacher, spoke with the assistant principal, with the principal. We met many times, with the teachers, with everyone, even with the counselors, and nothing. Everything stayed the same. They did nothing.”
Eventually, school officials spoke with the alleged bullies’ parents. This did not go the way Joel had hoped, according to the suit. After the meeting, the bullies pelted Joel with pipes and sticks, leading to an order of protection being filed against one of the bullies, and Joel being transferred to Public School 57.
This did not stop the bullies, as they just waited until after school to fuck with Joel. “The kids knew he moved and they went to the after-school club and waited for him,” his grandfather said.
The taunts reached a new low when the boys started picking on Joel about his dead father, who committed suicide when Joel was only 4-months-old.
On May 29, 2012, Joel told a friend he was tired of all the bullying then hanged himself in his family’s apartment hours later.
Neighbors say that his mother was the one who found him and let out a “blood-curdling scream’” as she cut down her son’s body with the same knife she then used to stab herself with.
A neighbor knocked the knife out of Babilonia’s hand before she could harm herself further and tried to perform CPR on Joel, but it was too late.
Seems like Joel’s family followed all the steps necessary when it comes to a child being bullied in school and out. Meetings with school officials, meetings with police. It does seem as if something, somewhere failed Joel. Because, let’s face it, if the details in the suit are correct, this went far beyond childhood pecking order bullshit. The actions Joel’s bullies took were downright criminal.
While I don’t think a lawsuit will bring Joel’s family any closure whatsoever, I do feel that, in some cases, a hefty payout is the only way to enact change. It would also send a message to parents who have been made aware of their children’s bullying activity; that maybe it would be in their best interest, financially, to nip that shit in the bud.