The summer cannot come soon enough for teachers and administrators across our area and the nation, as schools have been dealing with a surge in student violence.
Students and parents in our area have been reporting an increase in fights in school buildings — in hallways, bathrooms, cafeterias, even classrooms, and outside on school property.
Makayla Jones, a senior at West Babylon High School, showed Eyewitness News Investigative Reporter Kristin Thorne the scars she still has on her face and back from being attacked by two girls with a pen in March in the hallway of school.
“They both dragged me down to the ground,” she said.
Jones said she didn’t know the girls, who were freshmen. She said the fight was broken up by janitors.
Jones suffered a concussion and bruised ribs, and she has not been back to school since the attack because she heard from her friends that the girls were saying if she came back to school they would shoot her and her family.
“It’s been terrible and sad because it’s my senior year,” she said.
Eyewitness News Investigative Reporter Kristin Thorne heard from other parents about violence in the North Babylon School District. One mother said her 9th grade daughter was punched in the face in school, while the mother of a 6th grade boy said her son was tackled by a group of boys in gym class and suffered a broken wrist.
A student at Robert Moses Middle School said she was confronted recently by a girl in the bathroom asking her to fight.
“She started hitting me in the back of the head,” the girl said.
Parents are getting involved too.
Suffolk police said that on March 18, Racquel Stewart, of North Babylon, attacked a boy with a metal pipe because she said the boy had been bothering her son in school and beat him up.
ccording to the criminal complaint, Stewart “did strike the juvenile victim repeatedly with a metal pipe, causing a fractured bone to his left arm that required medical treatment at Good Samaritan Hospital.”
According to the complaint, Stewart told police, “I know it was wrong. I let my emotions get the best of me and I shouldn’t have done that. They have been bothering my son for a while and I have notified the school before. I got upset when I was told he had been beaten up and saw that he was bleeding.”
Eyewitness News reached out to Stewart and her attorney for comment. They did not return our calls or text messages.
Eyewitness News obtained emails parents sent to the North Babylon School District Superintendent Glen Eschbach detailing their concerns about violence in the schools. In one email, a mother writes that she herself witnessed a girl being attacked on school property.
“I am very concerned for the safety of my daughter,” she wrote.
“As parents, we should have the reasonable expectation that our children are safe in school,” another parent wrote.
“I am wondering if our police department should be notified,” yet another wrote.
Eschbach told Eyewitness News Investigative Reporter Kristin Thorne the district has taken steps to address the violence, including hiring more security guards, adding “significantly” more high definition security cameras, hiring additional social workers, and seeking to add another psychologist.
Read the full article on the NY Post website at https://abc7ny.com/school-violence-students-7-on-your-side-investigates-kristin-thorne/11962233/