The mother of one of the first graders who was dragged across the floor by older students at a Queens School plans to sue the city for $5.5 million, her attorney announced.
Latoya Gore plans to file suit against the Department of Education after a group of eighth grade girls repeatedly dragged her 7-year-old daughter and two other first-graders in a school hallway at P.S. 111 in Long Island City on March 10. The mother's attorney filed a notice of claim Wednesday, attorney Scott Rynecki announced Thursday morning.
According to the Daily News, Gore alleges that the eighth graders assaulted her daughter because she refused to join their public school fight club.
The DOE released a 30-second clip of the altercation, and said its special commissioner of investigation is looking into the incident. Four teachers and a paraprofessional who left the students unsupervised were removed from the classroom during the investigation.
“Nothing is more important than our students’ safety and we have taken swift action and removed the adults who were responsible for these children," The DOE said in a statement. "We are on the ground supporting the school community and have added school safety staff. We pledge to these families and children that we will hold accountable anyone who put children in harm's way."
The video shows the eighth graders reading to the first graders when one of the eighth graders can be seen throwing a bottle and some papers at one of the younger students. The older students can later be seen dragging the younger students across the floor.
Pamela Roth, an attorney who had represented one of the victims shown in the video, said the eighth graders were part of a tutoring program called “Each One Teach One” and that they were left unsupervised with the younger students for about 30 minutes.
“These eighth graders actually coerce and force the first graders to fight with each other,” Roth said earlier this month. “They were dragging them on the floor, harassing them and intimidating them.”
Roth says her client was so traumatized from the incident, she had to transfer to another school.
Roth had said she was pursuing legal action to get the DOE to release the full 30 minutes of surveillance video.