New York News

Shocking video of girls' beating at school

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Both teachers and school safety officers are being investigated for standing by and not lifting a finger to stop a bloody brawl in the Bronx.

The fight video, taken at Eximius Preparatory Academy, only lasts a minute. But for any parent who sees their child getting kicked, punched and bitten, the chaos that one minute video feels like a lifetime.

"After I seen the video, I was really destroyed," the victim's mother, Tjuana Thomas said. "How could they? I could understand if it was a one on one, but it's like so many kids just pounding away."

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In the video, Thomas' daughter is seen standing top on a school cafeteria table when another student leaps up and starts pounding on the 15-year-old sophomore.

They both fall to the floor, and that's when four more girls jump in, kicking and punching.

"One of the boys at my school tried to pull me off of her," the girl said. "He tried to stop the fight, but she still had my hair."

Thomas did not want her daughter to be identified. The teen says she's been bullied by a group of girls since she transferred to the school four months ago.

She says this fight started because she confronted another student who was bullying her by throwing water on her, and then she was surrounded by a group of girls.

"I got on the table because they were coming around me," she said. "So they won't hit me."

One classmate came to her defense, only to catch the most vicious brunt of the beating. That girl tried to hide under a table, but she was savagely dragged out and kicked and punched in the face.

"I feel happy that she helped me," Thomas' daughter said. "But I feel bad that they all jumped on her."

The controversy is heightened by the video, which shows two NYPD school safety officers walk into the room as the fight starts. But they are not seen at any time trying to break it up.

"I thought you were there to protect the children?" Thomas said.

"The school cafeteria people pulled me away," the teen said. "I don't know [where the school officers were]."

NYPD officials say school safety agents are supposed to intervene during fights and have the power to make arrests. They're looking into why this may not have happened.

Three girls were arrested on misdemeanor assault, riot and disorderly conduct charges.

Thomas' daughter was suspended for five days, but says she will not return to the school.

The Department of Education says that the students are being disciplined and that the matter is being investigated.

They also said that the bullying was never reported.

Thomas' daughter says that she didn't report the bullying because she was afraid.

School Chancellor Dennis Walcott says he hasn't seen the video.

"They are investigating and have made no changes to the staffing," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

Eyewitness News spoke to the Local 237, which represents the two safety agents.

"There was a large number of people, there was a lot going on, they went to get help," said Henry A. Sheinkopf, Local 237 Spokesperson.

"Could they have potentially stopped this before it erupted into a gang fight, as opposed to a two person fight?" Eyewitness News asked.

"That's people who always call it after the fact. The point is school safety agents are under tremendous pressure every day," Sheinkopf said.

(Copyright ©2014 WABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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new york city, assault, child injured, teenager, bronx, new york news, darla miles
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