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12-year-old Brooklyn boy dies days after assaults by bullies, family says
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12-year-old Brooklyn boy dies days after assaults by bullies, family says

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To the bullies at his Brooklyn school, little Romy Vilsaint’s life wasn’t worth $1.

Relatives of the 12-year-student, who collapsed and died after alleged two assaults by Public School 361 classmates in as many days, were still without answers this weekend in the tragic and shocking death. Family members said the boy was beaten by fellow students after school on Wednesday, and then punched hard in the head again on Thursday.

The boy’s devastated dad, Romain Vilsaint, already lost one son to a motorcycle crash in Haiti three years ago — the same year his younger boy started at the Brooklyn public school. The family said Saturday they had yet to hear from anybody at P.S. 361 about the tragedy.

Family members said the second assault was done to collect a $1 dare, with the boy staying home sick Friday before going into cardiac arrest. The Medical Examiner’s office had yet to determine the boy’s “cause and manner of death,” although there was no sign of trauma to the head or body.

Police continued their investigation into the devastating death, while the Board of Education intends to bring in an outside group to conduct a probe.

Family members said the boy never spoke of any problems at the school, either scholastically or with other kids.

Romy Vilsaint

Romy, a 5th grader at Public School 361 on Newkirk Ave., came home from school Wednesday and told his family two boys had beaten him up.

“He would have told me, but it’s not something he ever said to me,” said the boy’s cousin Roodwiny Xantus, 28. “He goes to school every day, and nothing like this ever happened before ... I did speak to his teacher, and she was just telling me about how nice Romy was. And how they all got along in class, and she loved him.”

Romy came home from school Wednesday and told family members that he was jumped by two boys, with sources indicating the attack occurred just after school let out. The Thursday incident occurred in a classroom, with another student slugging him from behind without provocation.

“When he came home Wednesday, he was not 100%,” his cousin recalled. “He mentioned a headache. And then on Thursday, he was hit in the back of the head again, and had another headache when he got home.”

The boy stayed home sick Friday, complaining of headaches, before his condition quickly deteriorated. He was pronounced dead at Kings County Hospital, leaving relatives to wonder exactly happened to him.

“This is a horrible tragedy and our thoughts are with the family during this incredibly difficult time,” said Department of Education spokesman Nathaniel Styer. “The safety of our young people is our absolute priority and this incident will be thoroughly investigated, and we are providing supports to both the family and school community.”


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