Police on Long Island are investigating after high school students brawled with one another using baseball bats and brass knuckles following a lunchroom dispute.
A family member of one of the students involved tells NBC 4 New York the brawl over the weekend was a manifestation of ongoing racial tensions between the students.
The melee broke out Saturday afternoon in an industrial park in Ronkonkoma following a dispute at Connetquot High School in Bohemia, police and family members of those involved say. Authorities say about 10 students were involved in the fight, some bringing baseball bats and brass knuckles.
Video obtained by NBC 4 New York shows several teens standing in a street arguing before the fight breaks out. One person, who is black, accuses a white person of calling him a racial epithet. Then, one of the participants can be seen pulling a metal bat out and handing it to another person.
Then, a person can be heard saying, "Take the brass knuckles off, bro" to the teen who initially had the bat. That person is then heard yelling expletives and, "I'm from Queens, New York!"
The video shows a third teen run up and punch one of the other teens in the face. At that point, all the students begin brawling in the street.
The fight lasted about 10 minutes, police say. Student Nicholas Abrahamson suffered a broken jaw and was taken to Stony Brook Hospital for surgery. No other students were seriously hurt.
Abrahamson remains in fair condition, the hospital said on his family's behalf.
"We are very grateful and thankful for the care he is receiving," the family said in a statement issued by the hospital.
No arrests have been made. The students involved in the fight have been suspended from school pending a disciplinary review.
Parents packed into a standing-room only Connetquot Central school board meeting Tuesday night to express concern over the violent incident and questioned whether the school did enough to prevent it.
Justine North, a friend of Abrahamson's family, said the teen's mother had "begged" the school to mediate the kids.
The school district said earlier Tuesday that it tried to intervene following the lunchroom dispute Friday, the day before the brawl, and contacted the students' parents.
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"The intention was to make the parents aware of the school district’s concern that the verbal argument could grow into something more serious over the weekend outside of the school district’s jurisdiction," the school said in a statement.
In addition to increasing security measures following the fight and conducting random bag checks on students, the school district said at the meeting it will set up a task force to deal with harassment and set up a mediation system for feuding students.
School board president Lee Kennedy added that officials were cooperating with police in the ongoing investigation. Detectives from Suffolk's Fifth Precinct were also at the meeting to solicit leads from anyone who might know anything about the fight.