Several teens in a disbanded cheer squad took their fighting spirit to a new level when they flipped out and attacked rival cheerleaders inside a Brooklyn high school.
The wild brawl, captured on cell phone video and posted on social media, exploded into a fist-flying, hair-pulling melee that quickly overwhelmed school security and continued for several minutes before staff members were able to shut it down.
An overmatched security officer at the Canarsie school can be seen flailing about in the video shot Dec. 18, trying in vain to contain the spiraling madness as several teenage girls punched, kicked and yanked the hair of two unsuspecting former squad members.
As a security guard busted up one fight, another one broke out behind her. It happened again and again until other staff arrived and the students dispersed.
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A lawyer for the teenage victims notified the city Wednesday of their intent to sue. The Daily News is withholding their names at the request of the victims.
“This is a school that’s known to have a lot of violence, and there was only one security person who was there and she couldn’t handle it,” the attorney, Marcel Florestal, said. “No one is secure in a situation like that. The school is not supervised.”
The mother of one of the victims told The News her daughter had been part of a squad that drew members from several schools in the same building, including Victory Collegiate High School and Brooklyn Theatre Arts High School.
The group recently shut down because the coach who ran it decided to pull the plug.
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The exact reason for the attack remains unclear. But the two victims, who attend Brooklyn Theatre Arts, believe they were targeted by fellow cheerleaders from Victory Collegiate due to their perceived favored status with the coach, according to Latoya Miller, the mother of one of the victims.
“I send my daughter to school to learn, not to fight,” Miller said. “My concern is sending my child to school and not having to wonder if she is safe. Where was the school safety? They were not around when they attacked her.”
That girl’s aunt, Precious Thomas, says the girls were specifically targeted in an area of school that’s known among students as being lightly supervised by security.
“Since she’s a freshman, she didn’t know that” about the hallway, Thomas said of her niece.
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“This is a location where people meet up to fight,” Thomas said. “It was a full brawl. How it was that it could occur at a school during school hours baffled me.”
In the video, a group of girls can be seen surrounding Miller’s daughter and her friend, swinging fists at them, grabbing their hair and kicking them when they fall to the floor.
Miller said her daughter received medical treatment at Interfaith Medical Center for a black eye and a fractured facial bone.
Thomas said her niece was so badly traumatized by the incident that she refused to return to school for a week, and has been having trouble sleeping since. She was also required to attend a mediation session before she returned to school.
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The parents of both of the victims say school officials did not properly investigate the incident and did not contact police or adequately discipline the students who were involved.
On Wednesday, Education Department spokeswoman Miranda Barbot wouldn’t say if officials are investigating the incident or whether staffers called the police.
She also would not comment on the nature of any discipline taken against students, citing federal student privacy laws.
“Safety always comes first,” Barbot said. “This incident was swiftly addressed and appropriate disciplinary action was taken.”
Police would not say how many school safety agents are assigned to South Shore but said the incident was handled without police help.
“School safety agents assigned to the building responded and it was appropriate for the incident to be handled administratively by school,” said Lt. John Grimpel, a police spokesman.
The building where the beatdown took place once housed the notorious South Shore High School, a problem-plagued facility where one student was fatally stabbed just off campus in 1990 and another was knifed to death in a stairwell in 1992.
The school was broken up into smaller schools by the Bloomberg administration in 2010, but the six schools now located there continue to experience violence.
Students must pass through metal detectors. In 2016, a stray bullet blasted into a room where a class was underway at Brooklyn Theater Arts High School.
No one was hurt in that incident, but in a 2017 survey, just 71% of students at Theatre Arts said they felt safe in the hallways, locker rooms and bathrooms. That compares to 85% citywide.
Fifty-four percent of students said bullying happened at the school most of the time or all of the time — above the citywide average of 37%.
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