The family of a 16-year-old black high school student on Long Island claims in explosive court papers filed in federal court in Nassau County that school officials failed to prevent a brutal, allegedly racially motivated attack by a white student on their son that left the boy with severe injuries.
It took 32 stitches to close up Zion Guzman-Milton's head after emergency surgery in 2014 to ease swelling on his brain following a knockout punch delivered by an older, white student at Valley Stream South High School. Guzman-Milton suffered a hemorrhage and skull fracture in the attack.
According to the court papers, the boy's parents say the school refused to notify police and tried to cover up the attack. The school district denies the allegations.
In an exclusive interview with the I-Team, Guzman-Milton said he had been getting a book out of his locker when he was approached by an older student he did not know. He said the student taunted him with racial names including “Afrojack.”
Guzman-Milton said he walked into the stairwell to get away. The next thing he remembers is waking up in the nurse's office, he said.
The boy's parents claim they had to request an ambulance because the school never called for medical help despite Guzman-Milton clearly being in obvious pain. When Nassau County police officers arrived with the ambulance, the principal was furious, blaming the family for notifying authorities, the boy's father told the I-Team.
“This lady was very disrespectful, saying that we did something to them as opposed to something happening in the school to our son,” father Chris Milton said.
Milton said he believed the situation was racial and that it would have been handled differently if his son had been the aggressor.
“I believe that my son would probably have been in jail if he would have done that to a white child, for sure,” Milton said.
Guzman-Milton said he was stunned to see his attacker back at school within a few weeks. The I-Team has learned the student later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and his record was sealed.
The family attorney, Fred Brewington, said Guzman-Milton was bullied, threatened and harassed by friends of the attacker after the punch and that school officials have done little to deal with ongoing safety issues.
Guzman-Milton and his family said they are speaking out now in hopes their case will prompt a discussion about racial issues in Valley Stream and elsewhere Long Island.
A spokesperson for the school declined comment because of the ongoing litigation.