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Family Files Lawsuit Against City, Alleged Bullies Over Boy’s Suicide

Joel Morales, 12, Hanged Himself In May 2012
Joel Morales (credit: Juliet Papa/1010 WINS)

Joel Morales (credit: Juliet Papa/1010 WINS)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP)The family of a 12-year-old boy who hanged himself after years of alleged bullying is suing the New York City Education Department and the teens who picked on him.

Family members say Joel Morales killed himself at his home last year because he had been repeatedly picked on by other students because he was small and sometimes stuttered.

His mother, Lisbeth Babilonia, is seeking unspecified monetary damages.

“He would be tripped, he would be pushed, they would run after him,” Babilonia’s lawyer, Tedd Kessler, told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman.

As 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reported, Babilonia claims she did everything she could to try to stop the torture.

She said she reported the alleged bullying to administrators at his school and spoke with the parents of the accused bully.

The lawsuit claims the bullying got worse after his mother complained.

Relatives said the bullying didn’t end even when Joel transferred from one East Harlem school to another. They said they asked to be moved to another housing project but were turned down.

“The little kids came to my house and threw sticks at my door. They hit my little brother at school. The crossing guards at the school saw it and they saved my brother from getting his head broken,” Richard Salazar said in May 2012, shortly after his brother hanged himself. “Getting beat up, getting picked on, and I just kept teaching him not to fight, and I guess that was my mistake.”

Kessler said the lawsuit aims “to bring to the forefront the problem that bullying has become.”

The city Law Department declined to comment citing the pending litigation.

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