Sixth grader dies after getting into fight at school
Story by Lucy Valencia, Assignment Desk Editor - email
GLENOLDEN, Pa. (AP) -- A sixth-grader who was injured in an altercation with another boy at school two months ago was taken off life support and died, and his suburban school district on Monday made extra counselors available to fellow students.
Bailey O'Neill, who had just turned 12, died Sunday morning, family members said.
He had suffered a concussion, a broken nose and other injuries during the encounter with the boy at Darby Township School, in suburban Philadelphia, on Jan. 10. He later began having seizures, and doctors induced a coma.
Bailey told his mother, Jina Risoldi, that he had been at recess when the boy, who was taller, challenged him to a fight.
Risoldi said last month that her son declined to fight, saying he was worried about being suspended. She said a boy then pushed him from behind and he was struck in the head about five times.
"This is not a fight between two boys," she said. "My son didn't fight back."
Risoldi said school security and a teacher rushed in to break it up.
Bailey spent the rest of the day at school, but over the following days he complained of severe headaches and dizziness, began sleeping a lot and became irritable and confused, his mother said.
"He had no problems before the fight," Risoldi said last month. "He was always extremely healthy, rarely got sick."
Bailey was an honor roll student who served on the student council, and he enjoyed baseball and swimming.
His mother said the other boy had challenged him to a fight earlier that week, and she had questions about whether the school did enough to prevent the encounter.
She said school officials were aware the boy had a history of bullying other children. She said the boy was suspended and subsequently returned to class.
On Monday, District Attorney Jack Whelan told the Delaware County Daily Times that he was waiting for autopsy results and re-interviewing witnesses but considered charges to be likely.
Last month, police Deputy Chief Brian Patterson told the newspaper what happened between Bailey and the other boy was a "one-on-one altercation" and was captured on video surveillance. A man who answered the phone late Monday at the Darby Township Police Department said officers could be contacted on Tuesday for comment.
Southeast Delco School District Superintendent Stephen D. Butz expressed condolences to Bailey's friends and family.
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