A New York City family is upset with local school officials after their two children were mocked with accusations of having the Ebola virus by classmates before being beaten up.
NY1 reported that the two boys, who recently moved back to the U.S. from Senegal, were reportedly attacked at their school in the Bronx on Friday.
“They call me from the school tell me come, they’re beating your children,” the boys’ father, Ousmane Drame, said. “I rush, go there my children was very hurt, headached, he was crying, laying on the floor, more than 10 children on top of him, beating him.”
According to WINS-AM, Drame was joined by his two sons and members of a local advocacy group, the African Advisory Council, at a press conference on Monday, where he said the two boys had been harassed for weeks leading up to the alleged attack.
“As soon as they go to the gym, they don’t want to touch the ball,” Drame said. “They say, ‘Guys have Ebola, don’t touch the ball.'”
Drame’s sons, who are 11 and 13 years old, respectively, were born in the U.S. but raised in Senegal. The country has not had any cases of the virus since this past August, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control.
Gothamist reported that another woman at the press conference said her 9 year-old daughter was subjected to similar taunts, and that her own hair styling business had suffered a decline after customers told her they did not trust an African woman to do their hair.
Rep. José Serrano (D-NY) and state Sen. Bill Perkins (D) have called the attack on Drame’s two sons a hate crime, and Carmen Fariña, head of the city’s department of education, said in a statement that the incident is under investigation.
“We will not tolerate intimidation or bullying of our students, especially in this moment when New Yorkers need to come together,” Fariña said.
Watch NY1’s report on the alleged attack, as posted online on Monday, below.