Two brothers who recently immigrated to the Bronx from Senegal, West Africa allegedly were beaten and badly injured by several students who called them "Ebola" in school, an advocacy group reported.
The boys, who are in sixth and eighth grade, were attacked by their peers at I.S. 318 in the Bronx, New York, last Friday according to the African Advisory Council of the Bronx. The incident occurred a day after the city's first case of Ebola was reported, when Dr. Craig Spencer tested positive for the virus following his Doctors Without Borders trip to Guinea.
The boys, who arrived in the United States last month, were taken to the hospital with severe injuries.
Their father, Ousame Drame, told NBC News New York that his sons "were pummeled by other students in the schoolyard during lunch after enduring weeks of taunts." Instead of blaming the students for their actions, though, he called on school administrators to protect his and other children. The boys will return to school, but Drame wants confirmation they will be safe, both emotionally and physically, the local NBC affiliate reported.
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"We will not tolerate intimidation or bullying of our students, especially in this moment when New Yorkers need to come together. We are investigating this incident and we take this matter very seriously. DOE School Safety staff members have been on site to mediate this incident and ensure the safety and support of these students, school staff, and their families," New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina wrote in a statement emailed to msnbc.
The African advisory group is demanding the community implement measures that end bullying and violence against children.
One of the largest outbreaks since the virus was first identified in 1976 has affected thousands of people throughout West Africa since March, when 49 cases initially were detected in Guinea. Nearly 5,000 people have died worldwide from the disease, and almost 10,000 cases have been detected, according to the World Health Organization, which notes that there is widespread underreporting.