Jeremiah Rosario was having a difficult time at his Bronx school, being targeted by a group of older bullies that called themselves “The Squad,” but on November 9 things reached a breaking point.
The nine-year-old special needs student had to use the bathroom, but returned to tell his teacher that that it was filled with urine and feces. The teacher sent him to another bathroom, but Assistant Principal Jose Gonzalez reportedly intercepted Rosario on the way there, forcing the boy not only to return to the filthy bathroom, but to clean it himself — with nothing more than toilet paper.
The incident is now under investigation by the Department of Education, which is interviewing Jeremiah this week.
“Nothing is more important than keeping our students safe and in supportive learning environments,” DOE spokesman Harry Hartfield said in an email. “We take these disturbing allegations seriously, and we are investigating them.”
Jeremiah had been having a difficult time in school, facing bullying from a group of third and fourth graders. He was diagnosed with ADHD and had an individualized education plan, and earlier this year he was caught climbing bathroom stalls. The school decided that he had to be accompanied by another student if he wanted to use the bathroom, and after the November 9 incident said it had to be an adult accompanying him.
Jeremiah’s family said the incident left the boy scarred.
“There was no soap to wash hands. There was no gloves or detergent given to him to clean up the feces and the urine,” said boy’s mother, Shirley Rosario.
“The child literally had to use toilet paper to clean as best as possible with his own bare hands the feces and the urine of other students.”
Shirley Rosario pulled both Jeremiah and his twin brother Isaiah out of the school, Sheridan Academy for Young Leaders, shortly after the incident.
The case of Jeremiah Rosario is the latest incident to shed a light on bullying and alleged misconduct at the grade school level. Many have accused schools of not going far enough in efforts to stop bullying, and in many cases even turning a blind eye to it.
[Image via DNAInfo]