WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Police have stepped up patrols at a local high school after a wild brawl involving a pair of teens wielding a wooden stick left several students injured, authorities said.
The fight, which took place after school Monday near the City College Academy of the Arts, left two 17-year-old boys with head injuries after they were struck by the stick, the NYPD said.
Up to 50 people were involved in the melee, and another five suffered injuries, officials said. The 16- and 17-year-old attackers who used the stick were arrested and charged with assault, police said.
The incident scared some students at the school enough that they decided not to attend class the following day.
“We’re here to tell families that we’re not going to allow this in our community,” state Sen. Adriano Espaillat said before a group of parents Thursday morning at a press conference to address the brawl. “We understand the kids are scared, but we ask that anyone that knows anything to please share what they know with the police and schools."
Espaillat was joined by PTA President Gleire Hernandez, several parents, officers from the 34th Precinct and Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, who said police have been working with the school's principal to find out what sparked the fight.
Espaillat and Rodriguez confirmed that police will continue to patrol the school and neighboring streets in the following weeks. Espaillat added that he discussed next steps with 34th Precinct Deputy Inspector Reymundo Mundo, and that police will maintain patrols in the area until the end of the school year "if necessary."
"They are doing the assessment," Rodriguez said of the NYPD. "They're going to be working with the principal to address why [the brawl] happened and how to prevent it in the future."
Hernandez said the school held a meeting Wednesday afternoon in which parents were broken down in groups by grades, adding it was working on organizing a larger meeting where all parents' questions will be addressed.
"We want to call on all the parents, and remind them that we should all be part of the solution to this problem," she said, "where the winners will be our children."
Rodriguez and Espaillat said they’re going to work with Hernandez and the school to organize a forum in the coming days with DOE officials, neighboring organizations, parents and the police to address any further community concerns.
“We are here to tell the children that they deserve to be protected, and we would do whatever it takes at this school,” Rodriguez said.