Bailey O’Neill, a boy who was put into a coma after a playground bully attack in January, died in the hospital on Sunday just one day after his 12th birthday.
Bailey’s family said he was attacked on the playground at his Darby Township School in Pennsylvania back in January, suffering a concussion and broken nose. He was taken to Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children for treatment, and his parents noticed that Bailey was displaying unusual behavior and wasn’t interested in eating.
The next day the boy began to suffer violent seizures, leading doctors to put him into a medically induced coma, ABC 6 reported. Bailey suffered another setback while still in the coma, catching pneumonia. Doctors were forced to give him a blood transfusion, but Bailey O’Neill died on Sunday, his grandmother told NBC10.
News of Bailey’s death was posted on the the Building Hope for Bailey Facebook Page on Sunday:
“I would like to thank everyone who has prayed and supported Bailey and his family!! Bailey has been the strongest toughest boy I know. He has fought this battle long and hard. There just wasn’t a way to fix this. I wish I could say he will get better but I can’t. Bailey has gone to be with God today 🙁 I love you Jina Risoldi with all my heart and I will help you through this. Bailey I love you!!! Please keep Baileys family in your prayers!!!”
At the time that Bailey O’Neill was put into a coma, the Southeast Delco School District suspended one of the accused bullies for two days. Superintendent Stephen Butz issued a statement saying the district was pursuing other action as well:
“We have requested that the local police assist us in the investigation of this incident and are fully cooperating with their investigation of this incident. We are very concerned about the medical condition of this student. And our thoughts and prayers are with him. Due to the age of the students involved and the ongoing police investigation, I am unable to make any additional comments.”
Now that the bullied boy has died, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said he is investigating whether the injuries O’Neill received in the fight caused his seizures.
“We can assure them that we are going to continue with our investigation,” said Whelan.
Within hours of the news being released, thousands of people had reached out to mourn Bailey O’Neill’s death. Among them was Ray Rice, running back for the Baltimore Ravens.
Rice, an active supporter of anti-bullying causes, wrote a heartfelt note about O’Neill’s death on his Facebook page:
“I don’t think I will ever be able to understand why kids bully each other and how we are all sitting here after yet another ‘bully death’ getting ready to go through this difficult task of picking up the pieces and the even more difficult task of forgiving so we can heal.
“I don’t know if we will ever get to a point where bullying is actually considered a CRIME, rather than ‘kids being kids’ or a ‘playground incident.’
“I don’t know if the kid that did this to Bailey will be punished severely enough or if he will receive the help I know he truly needs. Bullying doesn’t happen for no reason…we have to figure out what the underlying cause it and treat it like the illness it is.”
With Bailey O’Neill’s death, the 12-year-old’s family has pulled the boy’s younger brother out of school for fears he would be bullied as well.