A bullied boy from Philadelphia has died after a brutal attack by two classmates left him in a medically-induced coma.
Bailey O’Neill, who turned 12 on Saturday, died Sunday morning and was taken off life support. Two other pupils jumped Bailey during recess at their Darby Township School, hitting him in the face repeatedly, the boy’s father Rob O’Neill told WPVI.
He suffered a broken nose, a concussion and his personality changed after the attack. “He was sleeping. He was moody. He wasn’t himself. He was angry a little bit. He wasn’t really eating,” Rob O’Neill told WPVI in February.
His condition worsened over the next couple weeks and was ultimately hospitalized in Wilmington, Delaware after he began vomiting and having seizures. Doctors hoped placing him in a coma would end the seizures, but they continued. Bailey developed pneumonia and required a blood transfusion.
News of the bully attack spread quickly over the Internet with thousands liking the “Prayers for Bailey O’Neill” Facebook Page. An anti-bullying Pennsylvania House bill has even been created, with nearly a thousand signatures so far.
News of Bailey’s death inspired Baltimore Ravens star running back Ray Rice to speak out against bullying on Facebook, writing: “After learning last Thursday that doctors said Bailey had no longer had any brain activity, I reached out to the family and was able to spend about 45 minutes on the phone with them. I could hear their sadness, worry, frustration and grief. They would be faced with removing their son, cousin, nephew, and best friend from life support.
I don’t think I will ever be able to understand why kids bully each other and how we are all sitting here after yet another “bully death” getting ready to go through this difficult task of picking up the pieces and the even more difficult task of forgiving so we can heal.”
It is still unclear what further action will be taken against the two boys in the attack, if any, after they were suspended for two days.
School superintendent Stephen Butz said in a statement: “We have requested that the local police assist us in the investigation of this incident and are fully cooperating with their investigation of this incident.”
“I would like to see these kids punished,” Joy Fecanin, Bailey’s grandmother, told NBC before her his death. “Something has to be done. I don’t know what’s taking them so long.” Investigators have video and witness accounts in the case, but any charges are pending until investigators can determine whether or not Bailey’s injuries sustained in the fight were causing his seizures.