A Bronx teenager, Abel Cedeno, 18, was arrested in November for stabbing two of his classmates at the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation because they were allegedly bullying him.
Ariane Laboy, 16, survived the stabbing, but Matthew McCree, 15 succumbed to his wounds. Cedeno has been charged with first-degree manslaughter, and his family is suing the New York City school system for its failure to intervene with Cedeno’s bullies prior to the stabbing.
According to ABC News, Cedeno said he has been bullied since the sixth grade for his sexuality. He said they would call him “gay” because he was growing out his hair and had a high-pitched voice.
“They used derogatory terms; ‘He’s is a f****t’ or ‘He is gay because he is growing out his hair and has a high pitched voice.'”
At one point, the bullying affected him so deeply, it drove him to attempt suicide.
In an interview with WABC, Cedeno said:
“I tried to overdose on some pills, but the next day I woke up. I didn’t want to be surrounded by those kids. Whenever I went to school, I felt trapped. Like I was put in a cage with a whole bunch of animals.”
WABC reported Cedeno and his family allege this tragedy could have been averted had the school administration gotten involved sooner. According to WNBC, Cedeno’s mother, Luz Hernandez, called the school and requested that he be transferred, but the school did not take any action.
“Nobody helped us. They ignored us — ‘Be a better person,’ that’s what they say to my son. Ignore and be a better person.”
Cedeno said the bullying continued through high school, and to cope, he would skip classes to avoid his bullies. He missed enough classes that he had to repeat the 12th grade.
Cedeno described what happened the day he stabbed his classmates.
“That day, I tried to walk away. I was near the entrance to the classroom, and they continued to throw stuff. The class was very rowdy and loudness and everything. I just snapped. I started screaming and screaming.”
WNBC reported the incident occurred during Cedeno’s third-period history class, when McCree and Laboy were allegedly throwing broken pencils and paper at his head. Frankie Santiago, another classmate present during the incident, said McCree was trying to throw a crumpled piece of paper into the trash can when it hit Cedeno.
Cedeno asked to use the bathroom, walked out, and when he came back in, he had a three-inch switchblade in hand. His classmates watched as Cedeno stabbed McCree deeply into his chest. Police said Laboy attempted to thwart the attack, but he got stabbed in the process.
Santiago said the following regarding McCree:
“My friend got up, went to him — Abel had taken out his switchblade — and I tried to stop my friend from going to him, and he stabbed him. No hesitation.”
According to WNBC, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said Cedeno had been fighting with Laboy and McCree since the beginning of the school year:
“There were arguments going on for two weeks, into the school year, and it escalated today after some back and forth within the classroom.”
Cedeno was confronted by the school counselor, and he handed her the knife.
He then went to the assistant principal’s office, where he waited for the police to arrive. He later told police he bought the switchblade online for protection.
McCree’s mother, Louna Dennis, is advocating for justice for her son. McCree’s family and friends don’t believe he bullied Cedeno. Dennis said she partially blames the incident on the school for a lack of security.
“My son was in his classroom, where I sent him, where he should have been safe, protected. And he was not.”
According to WNBC, the school installed metal detectors shortly after the incident, but the stabbing incident was the last straw for the underperforming school, and it is now being shut down.
WNBC reported Cedeno has been charged with first-degree manslaughter, first-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He was held on $500,000 bail, but it was lowered to $250,000, and he has since been released.
You can watch Cedeno’s interview with ABC News below.