Another disaster has taken place in Buenos Aires as yet another 13-year-old boy has gotten hold of his father’s firearm. This time, tragically, the schoolboy from the Buenos Aires town of Zárate pointed the gun at his own head.
José spent hours in a vegetative state in the Virgen del Carmen hospital after he pulled the trigger yesterday, but he has now passed away. The teenager had been suffering on-going bullying at school, according to his family. José’s schoolmates at the local Technical School No. 3 had allegedly started to taunt him about the color of his skin. The situation became so unbearable for him that he begged his parents to let him move schools. A couple of months ago, they enrolled their son at a different institution, as he’d spend hours locked in his room everyday after school without eating or seeing friends.
Talking to C5N, Damián, his older brother, remembered how the kids at José’s previous school had “abused him and called him ‘Obama’ because he’s morochito (dark-skinned).” He added that the situation seemed to have improved when his brother moved to a new school and the teenager started to change in a positive way: “that’s why it doesn’t make sense that he took this drastic decision.”
On Monday, the 13-year-old skipped school without his parents’ permission and was scolded by his mother. Yesterday she went to speak to staff members at the school, thinking there had been more bullying, and when she returned to their family home in the 6 de Agosto neighborhood, she found her son lying on the floor, having shot himself in the head.
Damián assured C5N, “my mom didn’t hit him – they just argued, she told him off for playing hooky like any mother would.” He added that he thought the tragic incident that took place yesterday had “more to do with the bullying than with the quarrel with my mom.”
Damián also confirmed that the weapon belonged to their father, who got the gun because of the amount of the crime in the area. However, he also clarified that “he never showed it or said where he kept it — I don’t know how my brother found it.”
José’s uncle has commented to TN that “teachers have to prevent bullying before it’s too late — before something happens: they should speak to the kids, or call their parents.”
Bullying is growing at a fast pace in Argentina, according to Candelaria Irazusta, who wrote a recent guest voice column for The Bubble. Focusing on the importance of prevention, like the latest victim’s uncle, Irazusta said that “we need to stop improvising when facing this problem and start planning and working systematically.” This tragedy has occurred just weeks after video footage was released of another boy being beaten up by schoolmates in another school in Zárate.