As one boy held 14-year-old Kardin Ulysse’s arms down, another delivered punches to his head, face and neck, according to a Department of Education occurrence report. The boys called Ulysse a “transvestite” and “gay” in incident that took place in the Roy H. Mann Junior High School cafeteria on June 5. Since the cruel attack, Ulysse has had five surgeries, including a cornea transplant on his right eye.
Although Ulysse was not able to attend the arraignment on Friday, he quickly learned that the two seventh graders, ages 12 and 13, who beat him up and left him blinded in his right eye will not face felony charges.
Sanford Rubenstein, Ulysse’s family’s lawyer, has started an investigation into whether the attack on Ulysse was a hate crime. If the attack is found to be a hate crime, the charges against his attackers could be upgraded to felonies. If convicted, they would face anywhere from four to 20 years, according to nypdcrime.com.
However, when the young boys appeared in family court on Friday, the alleged bullies only faced misdemeanor charges. Their lawyers both gave not guilty pleas. If convicted, the maximum penalty the seventh-grade bullies face under the misdemeanor charges is 18 months in a juvenile facility.
Ulysse’s parents think the attack was taken seriously by the school principle, who reported the attack to the police. But Pierre Ulysse, his father, said, “I believe they should do much more. The students should be supervised. If they were doing what they supposed to be doing, my child would not have lost an eye.”
A survey from the Department of Education shows that 63 percent of students at the school have been harassed or threatened because of their religion, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or a disability. The Ulysse family has filed prior bullying complaints at the school, and other families have also complained to the school about their children being bullied prior to Ulysse’s beating.
In October of last year, Ulysse was taken to Kings County Hospital after being hit in the left eye by the same group of children, who tried to take his lunch money.
Rubenstein and the Ulysse family are also pursuing a $16 million negligence lawsuit against the New York school system and will appear in court at every proceeding for the attackers to make sure their son gets justice.