Security Guard Assaults 8th Grader at Isaac E. Young Middle School

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It has been reported that on Thursday March 26th, 2009 a male 8th grader from Isaac E. Young Middle School, was pushed from behind as he walked away as well as slapped in the face several times by a female Security Guard at the school. The incident occurred on the top floor of the middle school, sometime after 10:30 AM. It all occurred in a main hallway, in the presence of other students. We understand that the boy was interviewed extensively by the Isaac E. Young Middle School Administration regarding the incident. We also understand that some video is available on the school camera security system and that a police complaint has been filed by the parent.

In an interview with the parent and child, we were told the following:

The boy claims he was in front of his locker on the third floor when the female Security Guard approached him. She accused the boy of throwing crayons. The boy denied it and encouraged the Security Guard to check the security cameras. Some words were exchanged and the boy began to walk away. As the boy attempted to walk away, the Security Guard pushed him on his shoulder from behind. The boy responded with “don’t push me, don’t touch me.” This is when the Security Guard repeatedly smacked the boy on the left side of the face while he continually attempted to walk away. By the images taken it was clear that the Security Guard’s nails broke the child’s skin. Immediately after the incident the boy went to Mr. Jose Martinez, Administrative Dean at Isaac E. Young. Shortly after, Mr. Martinez was called to Mrs. Tawanda Robinson’s office, the Assistant Principal at Isaac E. Young Middle School. Sometime after, the boy reported to Mrs. Robinson’s office and was interviewed. After the interview, the child was sent to the nurse and provided with ice for his injuries. In the nurse’s office, the parent was contacted. The mother arrived at the school moments later. After a conversation between the school administration and the parent, the student was sent to the In-House Suspension room for the remainder of the day.

At some point after the incident, the boy was directed to go to his teachers and get work so that he could complete it in the In-House Suspension room. While in the hallway, the boy was confronted by a male Security Guard in an apparent attempt to intimidate. The Security Guard questioned the child about what his mother had told the school administration. The parent lodged a complaint with Mr. Martinez, about this second Security Guard approaching her son in a threatening manner and Mr. Martinez reported this to Mr. Anthony Bongo, Principal of Isaac E. Young Middle School. After, Mr. Martinez communicated to the parent that the school had contacted the New Rochelle Police Department regarding the complaint against this second Security Guard and that the police had “spoken” to the male Security Guard. The parent has no confirmation that the police was actually contacted on this second matter.

We are told that the slap left marks and scratches on the left side of the child's face. Images we obtained taken on Saturday March 28th, 2009 (two days after the incident) still showed some faded bruises and a scab on the left side of the face just below the sideburn.

Face Scratch.jpg

The parent filed a complaint with the New Rochelle Police Department. The Police took pictures of the child’s face. She was also asked if she wanted to press charges. The parent declined at that moment, but has not yet made a final decision. Prior to leaving the Police Station, the parent was encouraged by the police officer to contact detectives regarding the issue.

Below is a scanned copy of the blue card given by the New Rochelle Police Department after a person files a complaint. It provides the individual with an incident number so that they may request a copy of the incident report.

NRPDEV16285.pdfNRPDEV16285.jpg

There are so many questions we have about this incident:

How could this be happening in our schools?

Why is a second Security Guard confronting and questioning the child?

The nurse saw the child, provided the boy with ice to alleviate his injuries and it was communicated that the injuries were inflicted by an adult in the building. Why didn’t the school contact the authorities? If the injuries (redness, scratches, possible swelling) were inflicted by the child’s parent, it would have been the duty of every mandated reporter in the school to contact Child Protective Services.

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.

Oracle on Sat, 04/11/2009 - 19:37

If this kid was expelled as he should have been numerous time before...we wouldn't even be discussing this....The New Rochelle school system is corrupt and broken.

New Rochelle Co... on Mon, 04/06/2009 - 15:29

Always up to someone else to report and take the bull by the horns. Always someone else's job. Update the story yourself, since you believe you have the "inside track" and stop telling others they need to do. If you saw the video, describe what is on it. If you spoke to the parent, tell us what she said. Maybe you can get us a copy of the nurse's report from the school. That would help. Ironic, coming from someone who has not even made an effort to register for the site. Stand up and be counted.

New Rochelle Co... on Tue, 03/31/2009 - 22:21

To:

This report is wrong from
Submitted by Anonymous on Tue, 03/31/2009 - 18:08.

This report is wrong from beginning to end.

By the so eloquent articulation of your comment, it is crystal clear that you have intimate and direct knowledge of the events described above. Why don't you tell us your version of the events so that we can clear the whole thing up and put the entire issue to rest.

New Rochelle Co... on Wed, 04/01/2009 - 11:42

You said:

OK seriously if the child was assaulted the security guard would have been arrested.....SHE WASN'T!

Journal News said:

It was up to the victim, not the school, to approach police, police said today, and the family was deciding whether to press charges.

and

The guard was immediately dismissed from school grounds after the alleged incident, middle school principal Anthony Bongo said this morning.

The woman, an employee of New Rochelle schools, is suspended until further investigation resolves the accusation, Skau said. Skau did not know if the guard was suspended with pay or without pay.

Something must have happened...

You said at yesterday at 11:03 PM:

After viewing the video tape the PD said there was no slap on the face and the charge was dismissed.

The Journal News said yesterday afternoon:

Police said the investigation was very preliminary and would not comment on it. No one has been charged with anything, police said.

and

Police are getting the videotapes from the school today to review, Detective Ray Andolina said.

How can a charged be dismissed if a person was never charged?
How do you know that the videotape was reviewed by the police, when the Journal News reported that they were obtaining the tape that just yesterday? where you there?
What about the pictures the NRPD took, at 8:40 PM of the same day of the incident, where are they? That would clear this up quickly? What about the video timeline between the incident and the report to Mr. Martinez? All you have to do is follow the cameras...How about interviewing witnesses?

You said:

This child has been a discipline problem from day one and the security guard in question was doing her job. She was keeping the hallways safe.

Our interpretation of your statement:

The child deserved what he got. Your comments raise even more concerns about the attitudes towards children and the school culture at Isaac E. Young Middle School. As a person in a position to protect children, you really need to reevaluate what you just wrote.

Robert Cox's picture
Robert Cox on Tue, 04/14/2009 - 13:48

Here is what is true.

The student has made allegations that he was physically assaulted by one guard and then later threatened by another guard, that the mother reported this to school officials and police. That even after the police conducted an "investigation" the mother and the student continue to stand by their previous statements and have reiterated them since.

It is also true that there was a similar incident last year involving a different student and another security guard. In that case, the security guard was transferred to another school within the district.

This is the same school where a supervisor was hanging stuffed animals on nooses at the height of the Jena 6 controversy in Louisiana which was all over the news.

This is the same school where the Principal is caught red-handed smoking a cigar on school grounds and then lies about it to government investigators.

This is the same school that claims to have had a 50% increase in standardized test performance for black/African-American and Hispanic students in two years -- a claim that is absurd on its face.

So, when the administrators at this school claim that the incident never happened I tend to believe the student not the school.

As for the ridiculous claim that video surveillance "proves" that no crime occurred, anyone with common sense knows you cannot "prove" a negative. The video tape does not PROVE that no crime occurred. Even if the tape showed the guard striking the student that would not PROVE anything either because the guard might have been acting in self-defense. The tape can only corroborate testimony and the tape does corroborate the student's story in that the guard and student were together in the school hallway at the same time. The guard says she did not do it, the kid says she did so that is he a "said-she said" situation. There are witnesses who were interviewed who confirmed the student was struck, there are the injuries to the student which were observed and reported by the school nurse, the administrators at the school and the police officer who took the incident report and their are photos, there is the contemporaneous nature of the reporting-the student went directly to the principal's office to complain, the mother was called and came directly to the school to meet school officials.

Then there is motive. Does the student have a reason to fabricate a story? I have a hard time believing that a 12 year old kid would go to such lengths to fabricate an assault, I watched the kid on video tape and found him to be credible. Does the guard have a reason to fabricate her account? Yes, she would be fired if the district concluded she had struck a child. Does the school district have a reason to fabricate a story? Of course, the District always operates on the premise that a parent will litigate and treats situations accordingly -- to lie, obfuscate, threaten, manufacture records, destroy evidence and otherwise engage in a criminal conspiracy to protect their interests.

In this case, I certainly do not trust the police. Not all police but certainly some. Having had two police officers show up at my house after I went to the school to see if the tip I had received about school principal Anthony Bongo smoking cigars was true, I believe that some members of NRPD are willing to act in the interests of Anthony Bongo. It was certainly my sense that the police came to my house as a form of intimidation (it did not work, we ran the story anyway).

In this case, the police told the Journal News that the security guard has been "cleared" of assault charges even though the mother never filed assault charges. How can you clear someone of charges that were never filed? The police also told the Journal News that the mother did not want to press charges which is a flat out lie -- she went to the police station three times after filing the incident report and was rebuffed each time. The police also told the Journal News that the mother wanted to deal with school officials, also a lie.

The Journal News, for its part, ran a single source story -- only an account from NRPD -- without once interviewing the mother or the student. Obviously, they were more than willing to be interviewed since both appeared on Channel 12 News.

As is often the case, it is the cover up not the actual crime that becomes the problem. In this case, I believe the school district, officers at NRPD and the Journal News have cooperated in an attempt to suppress this story, discredit the victim and discourage other families from coming forward in the future.

Robert Cox's picture
Robert Cox on Thu, 04/02/2009 - 18:41

New Rochelle is not a "great" school district. It is a good school district with many good teachers and some standout students. That you probably actually believe that New Rochelle is a "great" school district only shows you have not traveled much. You might want to expand your horizons to get a sense of what a "great" school district looks like.

What we have here is many good students, some beautiful building, some exceptional teachers, many good to above average teachers, some excellent programs in sports, arts and academics. Yet the school district fails large segments of its population. 50% of hispanic students at NRHS do not graduate on time and there is no specific program set up to help them. Why? Anyone who has spent any time at Isaac E. Young Middle School can tell you it is the most violent, poorest run school in New Rochelle. There is a gang problem in the schools. The leadership of the district is poor and the school board members either asleep at the switch or so obsessed with "maintaining property values" that they have lost all sense of right and wrong.

The district likes to argue that all of this is explained away by pointing to worse situations in other districts. How is that an argument? We're better than Yonkers therefore we're great? Who cares what sort of schools they have in Yonkers or Mount Vernon when you live in New Rochelle?

There are over 200 registered users on this site. New Rochelle Community Pulse is one of them. The first I heard of this story was when I read about it on the site. Just as I had nothing to do with you writing your comment I had nothing to do with reporting out this particular story. I have never met this kid and have no idea about his background, his academic record or anything else. The way this story sounds to me is that a security guard with no particular track record of bad behavior "snapped" and struck a child. Unless she was acting in self-defense, there is no justification for a district employee to strike a child and I have not read anywhere that this was a case of self-defense. Fair or unfair, the district cannot continue to employee someone who has struck a student.

This is hardly the first such incident in the District. A security guard struck a child about a year ago at Isaac. In that case, the guard was not terminated but instead transferred to another school. In this past year, a district employee at Trinity assaulted a child, an employee at Jefferson was suspended for abusive behavior, and there have been other incidents which have come to my attention but were not reported on Talk of the Sound.

From everything I have heard about Isaac, the school is out of control. If this is, in fact, the case then the District needs to deal with instead of circling the wagons to "defend" the teachers and staff. EVERYONE suffers in that situation so most of the teachers and staff would be victims of the circumstance not perpetrators. I do not have a definite point of view on whether or not Isaac is out of control -- it sure sounds that way -- but I do know this: a fish rots from the head down. You can draw a direct line between the "three monkeys" style of oversight of our school board members (hear no evil, see no evil, etc.), the hands-off style of Richard Organisciak and the clearly unqualified individual running the school to understand why there have been two incidents of guards assaulting students, the recent break-in, the noose incident, the cigar incident, the lying to county investigators incident and so on. Isaac has had problems for years so leadership alone is not the problem but so long as the district's least competent administrator is in charge you can expect things to continue to deteriorate. And you can bet that Talk of the Sound that will be there to report on the whole sorry mess.

Robert Cox's picture
Robert Cox on Sat, 04/04/2009 - 16:09

First, I am not your friend and secondly, I sleep fine.

You and several other commenters on this site continually assert that any criticism of the school district or any reporting of incidents that do not reflect well on the school district or the City should not be published here or anywhere else.

I would be fascinated to have you make the case as to why you believe criticizing the school district or reporting on stories the district do not want known should be prohibited?

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