'Harlem Shake' Craze Gets Forest Hills High School Student Arrested

By James Fanelli and Murray Weiss  on February 21, 2013 8:16am

FOREST HILLS — Where's Kevin Bacon when you need him?

Last week officials at a city high school acted like the dance-banning town folk in the movie "Footloose" and cracked down on students performing a "Harlem Shake" flash mob.

Hundreds of students at Forest Hills High School were ordered to disperse when they jammed into the school lobby around 9:30 a.m. on Friday to perform the Internet dance craze, according to sources.

One senior was even arrested for organizing the impromptu gathering, the sources said.

Arnis Mehmetaj, 17, was hauled off to the 112th Precinct after officials determined he had promoted the "Harlem Shake" gathering on his Facebook page and invited more than 500 students to attend, sources said. The senior was charged with disorderly conduct and given a desk appearance ticket.

He was also given a five day suspension from school, his dad said.

Video footage of the chaotic scene was posted to YouTube on Friday. It shows hundreds of students crammed into a hallway, cheering and waving cell phones to snap pictures.

"It was supposed to be a harmless thing," a student told DNAinfo.com New York. "It was supposed to be 30 seconds of fun."

The student said that school officials found out about the flash mob before it started Friday and confronted Mehmetaj.

However, students still gathered at the called-upon time. As Mehmetaj pleaded with the raucous crowd to stop, school deans blew whistles and ordered them to disperse and police were called, the student said.

The mischief apparently didn't end there. Later in the day, a surge of students gathered in the cafeteria, where a food fight broke out, students said. An attendee also said that a dance-off occurred in the school at a different location.

"I think this Friday was the worst Friday the school ever experienced," the student said.

Mehmetaj's father, Kapllan Mehmetaj, called his son "a good kid" and apologized for what happened. But he said his son being suspended five days was too much.

"My kids are very good students. They all have good grades," he said. "We didn't raise them badly. We work very hard to have food on the table and educate them."

The "Harlem Shake" dance craze became popular in city schools after a video posted on YouTube earlier this month showed people dancing to deejay Bauuer's song. The initial clip went viral, spurring hundreds — if not thousands — of copycats around the world.

The setup and the song are the same in each take — a run-of-the mill scene of people that erupts into a goofy dance fest. 

Students at Stuyvesant High School and the Bronx School of Science also filmed and posted versions on YouTube on Friday.

The Stuyvesant video shows hundreds of dancing students crowded on the school's escalators. The Bronx Science version takes place in the school's yard.  Students at Hunter College High School, which is not run by the DOE, also shot one last week on their campus steps.

A spokeswoman for the city Department of Education said there was reported misbehavior at Forest Hills High School on Friday and several students were disciplined, but that did not prevent classes from ending at their regular time.

She said that the Stuyvesant video was shot on a weekend, and the Bronx Science clip occurred at the end of the school day outside the building.

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