romy vilsaint sign
A hand-drawn sign outside PS 361, in East Flatbush, honored Romy Vilsaint's memory in May. Photo by Sam Bojarski

With investigations still underway, many details are still unclear about the circumstances that led to the May 7 death of Romy Vilsaint, a fifth-grader at Public School 361 in East Flatbush. 

Family members have alleged that Romy, 12, who complained of being struck in the head and suffering through the resulting pain before his death, was bullied by peers. And, parents at the school have complained about a lack of transparency, with some reporting that they first heard about Romy’s death in the news media. 

In explaining the silence of administrators, the Department of Education (DOE) said there is no written policy for publicizing the death of a student. The department practice for public communication in the uncommon circumstance of a student’s death is to send a letter to parents. 

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Sam is a reporter for The Haitian Times and a 2020 Report for America corps member. He has covered Haiti and its diaspora since 2018. His work has also appeared in USA Today, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Haiti Liberte. Sam can be reached at or on Twitter @sambojarski.