Bronx kids from Senegal among those bullied due to Ebola scare
TREMONT (WABC) --The fear over the Ebola virus is leading to a growing and disturbing trend of people being targeted just because of where they are from.
And that includes some kids in the Bronx who say they were attacked.
West African families are crying out that the Ebola backlash is wreaking havoc on them, from their children being bullied and beaten at school to parents losing business.
Thirteen-year-old Pabe Drame says he was trying to rescue his 11-year-old brother Amadou from a group of schoolmates when they turned on him, shouting "Ebola" as they struck him.
The incident happened at IS 318 in Tremont on Friday.
The younger Drame says he is not allowed to touch the balls in gym class because the other kids fear he has the virus.
On Friday, a group of students started beating Amadou as he sat alone, ostracized on the playground.
His brother rushed to his aid and became a victim himself. Both are shy and quiet, and both were left left bruised and hurt.
"This boy...was crying," dad Ousmane Drame said. "They didn't do anything wrong. I believe they don't deserve to be beaten."
The boys do not speak English, and they came here from Senegal three weeks ago to join their father. Ousmane drives a cab, and while he says he can handle cutting remarks about Ebola from his passengers, he wept when he saw his sons suffering.
Sokhma Seye is feeling the stigma in the wallet and at home. As a hairdresser in Harlem, she says her clients are now refusing to go to African hairdressers. At home, her 9-year-old daughter fears she has Ebola because that's how the students taunt her.
"I told her, whoever bullies you about Ebola, trying to teach them it's not funny," she said.
Community leaders are now calling for more protections, with some calling for the incident to be investigated by the NYPD as a hate crime. They also want schools Chancellor Carmin Farina to take action and work to prevent bullying of African children.
"We do not need any hate crimes in our community," said Charles Cooper, Jr., of the African Advisory Council.
Ousmane claims the school did very little about the attack.
The Department of Education is investigating.