Julia Morales is the mom of a teen boy who suffers from cancer and who recently entered Becton Regional High School in East Rutherford, New Jersey. But when her son got there, rather than finding a supportive atmosphere for a kid coping with serious illness, his mom says the boy was mercilessly taunted, cruelly nicknamed “Cancer Boy,” and finally beaten up and left unconscious on a bathroom floor.
But rather than do anything about the ruthless bullying against her 16-year-old, school officials hit Julia’s son with a three-day suspension, citing his involvement in the fight that left him with a concussion — as well as headaches, depression and anxiety, none of which afflicted him before the fight.
Now she’s taking legal action because, she says, she just wants justice.
“I told the principal, what do you want me to do? What kind of evidence do you want me to show?” the distraught mom said at a press conference announcing her push for an investigation of the school, earlier this week. “There’s no one coming forward for him.”
In fact, she says, when she received a call to come to the high school on September 12 last year, after a teacher found her son on the floor of a school restroom, Principal Dario Sforza was interrogating her son — even though he was bleeding and bore a large, visible lump on his head.
She demanded that the principal call an ambulance, but the principal refused, Morales said.
The story out of New Jersey comes just two months after a Philadelphia-area 10-year-old cancer survivor posted a video responding to his own school bullies.
The East Rutherford school, through its lawyer Marc Zitomer, denies the mom’s accusations, even saying that the boy was not, in fact, found on the floor but exited the bathroom under his own power. Zitomer claimed that a security video supports the school’s version of events, but no video has yet been made public.
Her son’s thyroid cancer is fortunately in remission for now, but no one knows what the future holds. He had had several surgeries to treat his tumors — and he now bears a large scar across his neck, and that’s what set off the relentless bullying. That, and the fact that the boy was the “new kid” in school, with the Morales family moving to East Rutherford from Lindenhurst, New Jersey, last year.
Morales admits that her son initiated the bathroom brawl. She said that even though he knew he stood no chance in a fight against his tormenters, he just “snapped.” He’s been treated for his cancer as recently as August, just before school started, and now he just couldn’t take the abuse any more.
A neurologist examined the boy two days after the incident and concluded that his headaches, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder were direct results of the beating.
“I summarize it as evil, and horrible against these kids, and she doesn’t want money — nobody wants money, we just want justice,” said Pat Gesualdo, the attorney for Julia Morales. “Look what they’ve done. We can prove every fact that we’ve said and it’s all in black and white.”
[Image: WWOR-TV Screen Grab]