Videos capture extent of student brawls at Queens high school
Information about Videos capture extent of student brawls at Queens high school
They’re reading, writing, and roughhousing at a highly regarded Queens high school — according to more than a dozen videos of students brawling in hallways, the cafeteria and outside, insiders confirmed.
The 14 clips of wild fistfights at or near Benjamin Cardozo High School on 223rd Street feature both girls and boys. Crowds of noisy classmates surround the combatants, egging them on.
“Fight! Fight!” a boy is heard shouting as two girls face off, before finally swinging at each other in a frenzy.
In one fight close to the nearby playground of PS 213, video shows a teen thrown to the ground, trying to shield his head from further kicks and blows.
Footage in front of shops on Springfield Avenue near Horace Harding Expressway shows a boy knocked flat onto his back, motionless.
Fight videos were taken down from the Instagram account @cardozohighschoolfights after The Post asked the NYPD about them. Two showing fights that happened off-site remain online, including one warning of “graphic or violent content.”
“We are actively looking into the incidents,” said NYPD spokeswoman Sgt. Jessica McRorie, citing five complaints of violence in or near Cardozo since Sept. 13, when classes began.
In one case, a student menaced another kid with a Taser, though no arrests were made, she added.
In most cases, the fights were “handled administratively,” a source with knowledge of the videos told The Post, referring to school officials.
Reasons for the burst of student-on-student assaults are several, the source added: “One, there’s no discipline. There’s zero enforcement in the schools. Two, the kids haven’t been back in school for a year, so they’re going crazy.”
Students like to post the fights on social media as a form of boasting or competition with other high schools. Some videos show a sea of cell phones among the onlookers.
Tony Herbert, an independent/conservative running for Public Advocate, said the images of out-of-control kids — video of a melee at Susan E. Wagner HS on Staten Island emerged Friday — underscore his call for more school safety agents. That incident, in which a knife was recovered from a girl, culminated during a week in which five guns were found in city schools in two days.
Other high schools have also seen an increase in fighting since kids have returned to full-time, in-person instruction.
“We have freshman girls trying to fight almost daily,” a Brooklyn teacher said. “We do a pretty good job de-escalating but have suspended a few for fighting. They’re fighting about dumb social media disagreements. Sometimes they can’t even explain what it was. I have several girls in class who punched each other in the cafeteria. Our school never had fights, but it’s been constant drama.”
Herbert noted that teens who don’t want to be labeled as “snitches” won’t complain to cops, which helps schools hide the incidents from public scrutiny.
“The mayor and Department of Education are trying to give the impression these incidents are not happening,” Herbert said.
Fights at the 3,300-student Cardozo are still less frequent than in pre-pandemic times, students told The Post.
“Overall, Dozo is not a bad school,” said a junior Rayra Nichols. “It just depends on who you associate with. If you mind your business and stay to yourself, if you don’t look for drama, nothing happens.”
DOE spokeswoman Katie O’Hanlon said, “We do not tolerate acts of violence at our schools, and our incredible school safety agents intervene to de-escalate and address any conflicts when they occur. No students were seriously injured as a result of these incidents, and they will be addressed with appropriate consequences.”