Murry Bergtraum High School Melee Caught on Video
LOWER MANHATTAN — A brawl involving dozens of students broke out at Murry Bergtraum High School on Thursday.
The fight at the Pearl Street school started about 11:15 a.m. Thursday, the NYPD said. A video of the melee shows that the police officers who responded struggled to get the students under control, as some students grappled with officers and each other in the school's hallway while others egged them on.
"There are fights just about every day," said John Elfrank-Dana, a history teacher at the school and the United Federation of Teachers chapter leader. "But this was one of the biggest ruckuses I've seen in a long time."
Police issued summonses to six teens for disorderly conduct and one for assault, an NYPD spokeswoman said.
The video appears to show a teenage girl striking an NYPD officer, but the NYPD did not have a record of a related summons or charge, a spokeswoman said.
Thursday's brawl came on the heels of a serious fight at the school one day earlier, when two 15-year-old boys attacked a 16-year-old boy Feb. 29, punching him and leaving him with a cut lip and eyebrow, the NYPD said.
The two 15-year-olds were arrested at the school on Thursday after the victim reported the crime Wednesday evening, and they were both charged with misdemeanor assault, the NYPD said.
The Department of Education did not respond to requests for comment.
Murry Bergtraum High School, at 411 Pearl St. near the Brooklyn Bridge, has seen rashes of violence in the past, most notably in December 2010, when several back-to-back fights broke out, including one in which a 17-year-old student hit an NYPD school safety guard with a garbage can.
Last fall, the United Federation of Teachers union raised concerns about overcrowding at Murry Bergtraum, which the union said had more overfilled classes than any other school in Manhattan.
Elfrank-Dana said he is concerned about the day-to-day atmosphere at the school for both students and teachers.
"We're dealing with an emotionally volatile group of kids," he said.