Safety concerns are being raised about a Queens high school after video of students fighting became public. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
The cellphone video is blurry, but it's clear that it is a massive brawl between students at Richmond Hill High School.
The local head of the union representing school security officers says it was a gang initiation and evidence of serious problems at the school.
"It's not an isolated incident," said Gregory Floyd, president of Teamsters Local 237.
Floyd says officers got the footage from students who feel unsafe.
The melee occurred March 10, and after the video became public, more police were assigned to the school.
NY1 spoke with four students who said they have been in fights this year, but that the stories are being blown out of proportion. Others say there is a problem.
"Eveybody fights in school, you know," said one student.
The NYPD says nine girls were involved in a fight on the day of the video. One was arrested because she had an outstanding warrant against her. Three were issued summonses, and others were suspended. A gray box cutter was also recovered in a school staircase.
Floyd showed us pictures of other weapons he claims safety officers found outside the school.
The head of the union is now accusing the city of trying to cover up the violence.
"I want the mayor to come up with a policy to combat gang activity in the schools and stop this notion that crime doesn't exist and crime is going down in New York City schools," Floyd said.
The safety officers want the de Blasio administration to put more metal detectors back in schools, but some school employees are accusing the union of hyping the problem so more safety officers are hired. The Deparrtment of Education told us in a statement, "The safety of students and staff always comes first," adding, "We are providing the school with additional supports to ensure students are provided with a safe and supportive learning environment."
But some students say it's hard to learn when they are constantly watching their backs.