Education News

Fight on camera, history of violence at school?

Monday, April 22, 2013

There is dramatic video of a fight at a high school in Manhattan with students shown egging on the girls as they brawl.

That fight happened at a school that's seen its share of troubles.

Both students and Department of Education officials insist that it's not a sign of bigger problems.

The fight happened at Murry Bergtraum High School in Lower Manhattan.

The high school stands in the shadows of the fortress that is One Police Plaza, which is ironic because the school has had so many safety problems.

Last Thursday, police responded to a large fight that broke out there and it was all recorded on a cell phone.

It was a bare knuckle brawl in the hallways of Murry Bergtraum High School with spectators egging on two girls hitting each other.

One classmate recorded the chanting, howling, and punching on a cell phone.

Eventually, the brawl was broken up by cops who issued summonses.

Murray Bergtraum, a school sandwiched between Police Headquarters and the Brooklyn Bridge, has a long history of problems with students fighting each other and school safety officers.

Current students say last week's fight is not indicative of their school.

"It was just one day. It rarely ever happens," one student said.

"My school's not that bad. It's a great school. The teachers really care about the students," another student said.

"You have a school of about 1,800 kids, so out of that you saw a percentage of the student population. To assume the entire school is like that, that chaotic, hectic, you're talking about a percentage of a larger scale," New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said, "The students involved in the fight will get the appropriate discipline."

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott says the Department of Education is investigating the brawl.

But he also says the fight is not representative of what's happening across all city schools, which is a 43% reduction in violent incidents.

"We've been working collaboratively through the Department of School Safety through the NYPD and the Department of Education, and we've put a number of strategies in place with our school safety officers," Walcott said.

Walcott says one strategy that school safety officers are using is to keep the hallways clear and make sure students are moving from classroom to classroom.

No one was hurt in last Thursday's fight.

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