Bailey O'Neill's family says he was bullied and beaten

Mother of Beaten Boy: "He Will Be Missed"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The recent death of an eleven year old Delaware County student has left some asking questions about bullying in schools. The student came home with a broken nose and black eye before he died days after. NBC10's Katy Zachry reports.

    Bailey O’Neill was not a boy who liked confrontation.

    “He was an honor roll student. He was smart. He was loving,” said Jina Risoldi, fighting back tears as she prepared to bury her son.

    Bailey turned 12 on Saturday and died on Sunday after his family took him off of life support at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. It was the end of an agonizing seven weeks that started with a fight at school on January 10.

    Did Bullying Play Role in Boy's Death?

    [PHI] Did Bullying Play Role in Boy's Death?
    A grieving family member and angry parents are speaking out after a Delaware County 6th grader lost his life. The family says 12-year old Bailey O'Neil died after a bullying incident, but the Delaware County District attorney isn't sure about that. NBC10's Harry Hairston has the story.

    Bailey’s family says he was jumped by another boy, who they characterize as a bully. That boy’s accused of punching Bailey in the face. The sixth grader came home from Darby Township School that day with a broken nose and a black eye.

    “I asked him why he did not fight back and he said he didn’t want to get in trouble,” Risoldi said.

    Father of Alleged Bully Speaks Out

    [PHI] Father of Alleged Bully Speaks Out
    Only on NBC10, the father of the boy accused of beating Bailey O'Neill is speaking out, claiming his son is not a bully. NBC10's Katy Zachry spoke with him in an exclusive interview.

    Two weeks later, Bailey was in a medically-induced coma after suffering seizures. His family believes those seizures were related to the school beating.

    “He was a perfectly healthy boy before January 10,” Risoldi said. “I really believed in my heart that he was going to get better.”

    As they plan Bailey's funeral, the family is also awaiting the results of his autopsy, which should determine whether his death was related in any way to the beating. The medical examiner said today he did not expect to rule on a cause of death for several weeks.

    Condolences have poured in from the community, the school, and the family of the boy accused in the beating.

    “I feel sorry you know,” the boy’s father told NBC10’s Katy Zachry. We aren’t using the father’s name in order to protect the identity of his son, who is a minor. “I don’t know the family, but no one wants death on anybody,” he said. “I feel sorry for the young man and I feel sorry for my son because my son’s depicted as a bully.”

    His son was suspended by the school for two days, along with another student after the beating. The  Delaware County dad said his son is “not the monster everybody is trying to make him out to be” and that he does not expect the findings from the autopsy to lead back to his son.

    Investigators are trying to determine if the school fight was an isolated incident or if Bailey was the victim of bullying.

    “He was a great brother and he’s going to be missed,” Risoldi said. She wants people to remember him as that well-liked kid who never started fights.

    Bailey O’Neill’s funeral mass is at St. Joe’s Church in Collingdale this Saturday morning at 11 a.m.