Teen could lose sight after anti-gay attackAround the Nation, Bottom Highlights Thursday, July 5th, 2012
BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CNN) – A 14-year-old-boy has claimed that he was bullied to the point of blindness. Kardin Ulysse said the bullying, which included the yelling of anti-gay slurs, happened to him at his school, Junior High School 78 in Bergen Beach.
“I can’t see from my right eye,” Ulysse said in his attorney’s office last week, “And I don’t feel very good because I can’t see from it and I want to see from it.”
Following the beating at the hands of two seventh grade boys, the soft-spoken student faces the possibility of being permanently impaired.
“He’s going to have to have an eye transplant,” the boy’s father said. “There’s no guarantee he’s going to see again in the right eye.”
A Department of Education report says the beating took place in the cafeteria of the junior high, which is also called the Roy H. Mann School, on East 68th Street. Around 8 a.m. June 5, according to the notice of claim filed against the city in the case, a seventh grade boy pinned Kardin down and beat him, and another seventh grader also joined in. They yelled anti-gay slurs at him while slugging him, leaving his glasses smashed.
One of the eyes behind his glasses was in such bad shape that Ulysse has had to have three surgeries. His father points out, however, that the boy has been abused at the school in the past. Last October, Kardin’s other eye was damaged during a beating by students.
A source connected to the school told PIX11 News that its principal, Jacek Polubiec, isn’t doing enough to keep students in line. Ironically, Mr. Polubiec posted an entry on his blog http://iulc21.ning.com last school year about the importance of his school being a “no bully zone.”
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott praised the principal, telling PIX11 News that Mr. Polubiec acted swiftly to get the attack stopped and to discipline the accused attackers, who now face a juvenile criminal trial. He also said that the frequent complaints of bullying claimed by the Ulysse family don’t mean the school has a severe bullying problem.
“I don’t think there’s anything extraordinary happening at the school as far as more bullying taking place at one school as opposed to another,” Walcott said. “So we’re going to follow up and our staff are going to stay on top of it; police are involved.”
The Ulysse family did not comment about their son’s sexual orientation. Instead, their attorney, Sanford Rubenstein, said the homophobic words used against his client “were meant to hurt.”
Last week, Rubenstein, one of the most prominent civil rights lawyers in the city, if not the country, filed a notice of claim with the city comptroller’s office, seeking damages of $16 million. If the city government doesn’t settle the case, which it is not expected to do, it’s likely to end up in the state supreme court. The separate criminal case against Ulysse’s alleged attackers is ongoing.
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