Mexicali, Mexico – An 11-year-old boy has died after suffering a severe blow to the head from an alleged bullying attack by a classmate at his elementary school in Mexicali, Baja California, last week.
The victim has been identified as Martin Damian, a fifth-grade student at the Eucario Zavala Álvarez Elementary School in the Granjas Nuevas neighborhood of Mexicali.
According to reports, on Monday, October 30th, Martin was entering his classroom when another student placed his foot out and pushed him, causing Martin to fall backward and hit his head hard on the concrete floor.
Martin immediately began crying and complaining of head pain to his teacher, identified only as Mr. Esteban. However, the teacher did not notify Damian’s parents for over 3 hours after the incident occurred.
When Martin’s parents arrived to pick him up from school, he was still in agonizing pain. They took him to a local clinic where doctors examined his eyes and ears but did not detect any serious injuries, so they sent him home with just pain medication.
The next morning, on October 31st, Martin woke up vomiting violently. He then collapsed and lost consciousness, at which point his panicked parents rushed him to the emergency room.
Doctors at the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) Clinic #30 detected that Martin was suffering severe brain trauma. He remained in critical condition under observation and slowly deteriorated over the next several days.
Tragically, on the morning of Sunday, November 5th, Martin Damian was declared clinically brain dead.
History of Bullying
According to Martin’s family members, the boy who pushed and attacked him was a known bully at the school who had targeted Martin and other students for weeks prior.
In one particularly disturbing example, Martin’s aunt Vanessa Gonzalez revealed school work where Martin had written about his bully: “That Julio (the bullying boy) hits me whenever we play soccer” and “to be shorter and that my enemy is much bigger than me.”
Other parents also came forward, alleging violent incidents involving the bully attacking their children since September, however, the school did nothing to intervene or discipline the boy.
The school principal, identified only as Ms. Libia Noemí, allegedly told parents she would not get involved in bullying incidents and that they should remove their kids from the school if they did not like how she handled discipline.
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Outcry for Justice
News of Martin’s death has ignited massive outrage in the community against school administrators and local authorities.
On Monday, November 6th, over 100 demonstrators gathered outside the elementary school, demanding justice for Martin and punishment for those responsible.
Many protested with signs reading “We want justice for Damián” and “If you had done your job, Damian would be alive.”
Martin’s grief-stricken father also directly confronted the state Secretary of Education, Gerardo Solís Benavides, holding up his son’s school work as evidence that the bullying complaints were ignored.
Removal of School Officials
In response to the public condemnations, Secretary Solís announced that the elementary school principal and Martin’s teacher Esteban have been removed from their positions pending investigation.
The State Attorney General’s Office (FGE) has also opened two separate criminal probes into the school’s negligence as well as malpractice by the doctor who initially discharged Martin without detecting his critical head trauma.
Martin Damian’s tragic death has united the Mexicali community in demanding accountability and justice for the innocent young bullying victim.
Many are calling for criminal charges against the student responsible for inflicting Martin’s fatal injuries, as well as the dismissals of the principal, teacher, and doctor who failed to properly act.
The heartbroken family laid Martin to rest on Tuesday, November 7th, releasing white balloons at his funeral service in a touching tribute.
As the investigations proceed, all eyes remain on the authorities to take decisive action and deliver justice for Martin. His case has renewed scrutiny over Mexico’s ongoing crisis of bullying and violence in schools.
The outcome is being monitored closely by parents, officials, and human rights advocates across Baja California and nationwide. Martin’s legacy will hopefully spur positive reforms protecting children from the kind of abuse that cruelly cut his young life short.