Deandre Williams suffers from a disability which causes him to walk with a limp. Because of his condition, his mother says, a group of student bullies routinely picked on and bullied him, even giving him the nickname ‘limpy.’
Shortly before Christmas, this same group of students invited the teen to the community center, supposedly to hang out. The 13-year-old then went with the group to the home of one of the student bullies.
Once inside the house, one of the students doused him in cologne and then lit him on fire.
“He was trying to leave, run out of the house but he can’t because he can’t run. He walks with a limp,” his mother, Ursula Allen, told Fox 5 in New York.
According to Allen, there were others in the house at the time the attack occurred, including the mother and the sister of the student who set her son on fire.
Although Deandre had severe burns on his face, neck, chest and arm, more than two hours past before anyone attempted to get medical attention for the injured teen.
“When the sister saw what was going on she covered it up,” Allen said. “She put Deandre in the shower which hurts even more.”
The teen was later admitted to the hospital in critical condition, due to the severity of his injuries.
Here’s more on this story from Fox 5.
The attack on Deandre Bloomfield took place in Staten Island, New York on December 2nd.
During an interview with New York Daily News on December 9, the teen said he thought the boy who attacked him was his friend.
“He used to bully me. Smack me around,” he said during the interview, which took place in his room at Staten Island University Hospital North.
The teen described what happened on the night of the attack.
“First he smacked me. I got up and I said, ‘Don’t smack me again.’ And when I wanted to leave, he picked up a perfume bottle with a lighter, and he sprayed it on me. He did it two times. The first time he did it sparked on me. . . . And that’s when I started to run, and he threw the whole bottle at me.”
His clothes caught on fire.
Deandre’s attacker, another 13-year-old boy, was not identified by police, due to his age. He was arrested and faces multiple charges.
No charges have been filed against the boy’s mother or sister, although police say they are still investigating the incident.
After spending almost three weeks in the hospital, Deandre was released just before Christmas. Community organizations pulled together to send a message of support and healing to the teen, who also opened an assortment of awesome Christmas gifts, including an xbox one, OVO clothes, gear and more, courtesy of rapper Drake and radio station Hot 97.1.
During an interview with the station on January 8, Deandre said he won’t be able to go back to school for another few weeks yet. He still has some healing to do. When asked whether he felt safe going back to the same school, he said the students who bullied and attacked him are no longer attending classes there.
According to the National Education Association (NEA) bullying impacts more than 13 million students in the United States annually. Every day in the U.S. more than 160,000 kids stay from home school because of bullying.
If you think a child is being bullied, the NEA advises against just ignoring the signs, hoping the behavior will correct itself. Instead, the organizations advises adults to intervene as soon as they suspect there is a problem.
The NEA says parents should:
“Take any and all steps to address bullying—including getting professional help. And be sure to inform someone in your child’s school that your child is being bullied. It’s crucial that parents have a contact person in the school—whether it be a principal or assistant principal, a teacher or a support staff person.”
*Featured image credit: video screen capture via Fox 5