N.Y. Teen Blinded After Being Assaulted by Anti-Gay Bullies

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Wednesday June 20, 2012

A teen from Brooklyn, one of the five boroughs of New York City, is blind in one eye after he was physically assaulted by bullies who hurled homophobic slurs at him in a school cafeteria, New York Daily News reported.

Kardin Ulysse, 14, who was beaten on June 5 at Roy H. Mann Junior High School, has undergone two eye surgeries. The Daily News says it is unclear if Ulysse went blind from the bullies' multiple punches to the face or from the shards of lens from his eyeglasses that damaged his cornea.

"My son is very upset. He says, 'Daddy, am I ever going to be able to see again?' " Pierre Ulysse, Kardin's father, said.

"The doctor says he needs a transplant," he said. "For me to send him to school with two eyes and come back with one eye is really absurd. I want the world to know about this," he said.

According to a report by the New York City Department of Education the eight-grader says two seventh-graders attacked him and called him a "fucking faggot," a "transvestite," "gay" and other anti-gay slurs. One of the bullies held Kardin down while the other brutally punched his face, head and neck. The teen managed to break away but the fight continued until school officials finally stopped the assault.

The Ulysse family is planning to sue the city for $16 million for "failing to properly supervise the students," the publication says.

The family's lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein, requested that authorities look into the attack to find out if it was a hate crime so he can upgrade the criminal charges to felonies. Since the attackers are under the age of 18 they were charged with misdemeanors in Family Court.

When the media asked Kardin why the bullies used anti-gay slurs the teen said, "I think he said that to hurt me and because he's a bad person."?

Kardin says he has been a victim of bullying for a while and claims that in October a bully assaulted him and tried to take his lunch money. Parents of a 13-year-old student filed a lawsuit against the school last year for bullying, the article notes.

The spokesman for the Department of Education said Kardin's incident is being taken "very seriously" by the school's principle who contacted the authorities at the time of fight.

A survey from the department showed that 63% of the students at Roy H. Mann said they were harassed or threatened by a classmate at least once last year based on their race, religion, ethnicity, citizenship status, sexual orientation or gender.

The survey also said that 40% of the students didn't feel safe in the building and 44% said that students threaten or bully other students "most of the time" or "all of the time."

It's no surprise that bullying in schools has become a major issue in the past few years as it has gained massive media attention. Bullying impacts LGBT students as well as straight students.

Earlier this month a family from New Jersey filed a federal lawsuit against a school for not doing enough to protect their son from being constantly bullied because classmates thought he was gay. After parents spoke with school officials, the administration told them that their son should "make new friends," "enroll in sports" or move to a new school district.