AFRICANGLOBE – A Bronx man says he brought his two sons to America from Senegal so they could get a good education — but their classmates doled out brutal lessons in bullying and fear-mongering, shouting at the brothers, “Go back home” to Africa amid beatings and chants of “Ebola.”
Amadou and Pape Drame were attacked Friday at IS 318 in Tremont, punched in the face and relentlessly bullied, their father said Monday.
“My name is not Ebola, it’s Amadou,” the younger brother told his tormentors before he was attacked, said dad Ousmane Drame, who urged school officials to do something.
“They call me from the school, tell me come, they’re beating your children,” said Drame, a cab driver who is raising the two kids on his own. “I rush, go there, and my children were very hurt. Amadou was crying, laying on the floor, more than 10 children on top of him, beating him.”
Amadou, 11, and Pape, 13, stood silently by their father’s side on Monday as he, community leaders and elected officials urged parents to talk with their kids about tolerance.
Drame, 62, who has lived in New York for 25 years, said this was not the lesson he had in mind when he brought his sons to America for the opportunity of a better education.
“If they go to the gym, they say, ‘Oh, you don’t play. Don’t touch the ball,’ ” Drame said. “ ‘You have Ebola. Sit down there.’ For two days, they don’t touch nobody, they just sit down.
“It’s not just them. All the African children suffer this. I spent seven years in college. I went to school all my life. They’re born in a teacher’s family. They have to go to school.”
The shaken father said he met with the school’s principal Monday.
He also reached out to the African Advisory Council of The Bronx, which is pressing the school district for a solution.
“On Friday, while the younger one was in the gym, he was assaulted,” said Charles Cooper, president of the council. “They came to him calling, ‘Ebola, Ebola, get out of here,’ punched him several times all over.
“During lunch, they were outside in the yard, which is supposed to be a safe place . . . The kids were yelling, ‘Ebola Ebola get out of here,’ and they rushed him, threw him on the ground, kicked him, punched him. He was screaming. His brother heard him screaming from across the yard, so his brother ran to him.
“The other kids jumped on him also and started beating on him as well. The school tried to say it was a fight,” Cooper said, “We made it very clear to them. This was not a fight. This is assault. This is bullying.”
The Department of Education did not immediately comment.
Senegal is one of several West African countries where Ebola cases have been reported, but there have been no new cases in that country since late August, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Amadou has since told his father he wants to go home to Senegal, where their mother lives.
That, Drame said, is not an option.
He said the boys are American citizens, born in New York and raised in Senegal so they could learn French and math.
“This,” he told the boys, “is your home.”
By: Elizabeth Hagan