Education officials are investigating after they say a group of first graders was dragged across the floor by older students at a Queens school.
A 30-second clip released by the Department of Education shows the first graders being repeatedly dragged across the floor in a school hallway by a group of eighth graders at P.S. 111 in Long Island City on March 10, according to Pamela Roth, an attorney who represents one of the victims shown in the video.
Roth says 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.
The video shows the eighth graders reading to the first graders when one of the eighth graders can be seen throwing a bottle at and some papers at one of the younger students. The older students can later be seen dragging the younger students across the floor.
“These eighth graders actually coerce and force the first graders to fight with each other,” Roth said. “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.
The school district filed a police report a week after the incident took place and suspended four of the eighth graders involved. But Roth says she is pursuing legal action to get the DOE to release the full 30 minutes of surveillance video instead of just the 30-seconds that have already been released.
The DOE said in a statement that its special commissioner of investigation will be looking into the incident and that the teachers who left the students unsupervised are being removed from the classroom during the investigation.
“The safety of our students is our first priority,” the statement said. “What was depicted in that video is completely unacceptable.”