12-year-old boy dies after reportedly being bullied, punched in head over $1 dare

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FLATBUSH, Brooklyn (WPIX/WJW) — Police are investigating a 12-year-old boy’s death as suspicious after he died following a reported incident of bullying at school.

Romy Vilsaint died at a hospital Friday after complaining of head pain. A city medical examiner will now determine his cause of death.

Vilsaint’s family said he was the victim of bullying at school.

He was a fifth grader at PS 361. His cousin, Roodwiny Exantus, said Romy was attacked twice in two days — jumped by two kids at school on Wednesday and then hit in the head on Thursday by an attacker who, he said, was paid a dollar by a third student.

“He told me after he got punched in the head, he reported it to the teacher or the principal, I’m not sure which, and the teacher asked the kid, who said he got paid a dollar from this kid to do that,” Exantus said. 

Exantus also said Romy spent part of Thursday in the school nurse’s office and then stayed home sick on Friday in their East Flatbush apartment. The family called for an ambulance after Romy started vomiting on Friday afternoon.

“I can’t say too much I can’t put no blame on no one,” Exantus said. “I wish when he was in the nursing room, they had called the hospital but I can’t blame nobody.”

Vilsaint did leave his father a voicemail after being hit on Thursday, The New York Post reports.

He told his father he had a “huge headache” and that someone hit him “real hard” in the back of the head.

A spokesperson for the New York City Department of Education said Saturday afternoon that the agency would investigate what happened.

“This is a horrible tragedy and our thoughts are with the family during this incredibly difficult time,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “The safety of our young people is our absolute priority and this incident will be thoroughly investigated and we are providing supports to both the family and school community.”

Romy was born in Haiti and moved to Brooklyn in 2017 to live with his father, two sisters, and his cousin’s family. His mother and three other sisters live in Haiti. 

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