NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Parents at a Staten Island school were upset and demanding action Thursday, after a viral video showed a father encouraging his son to punch another boy.
As CBS 2’s Sonia Rincon reported, the video showed fifth grade fists flying outside the schoolyard at P.S. 60 the Alice Austen School, at 55 Merrill Ave. in the Bulls Head section of Staten Island. A father can be seen and heard directing his son to fight harder.
The fight happened back on May 14, and the video has since been pulled from social media. But as of Thursday, it was still being hosted on the Staten Island Advance website, and it was still making parents cringe.
“‘Punch him again, punch him again,’ that was really – I was appalled,” said Luis Ramos.
As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported, parents were appalled.
“I thought it was absolutely terrible, and no matter what the story was before, it’s still wrong on him to say hit him and hit him again,” said Michael Guidice.
“You don’t tell a kid to beat up another kid,” said Jackie Carlo. “You know, hat about if it was my kid and I saw my kid getting beat up and another parent egging them on — it’s disgusting.”
No one on Thursday was quite sure what the fight was about. But parents said there is no excuse for the father’s behavior.
“He should have gone to the principal, (said), ‘My son is being bullied,’ if he’s getting bullied – and taken care of it the right way – not put his son to fight out in the street,” Ramos said. “What is that teaching his son?”
Someone was upset enough about it to file a complaint with the police. The NYPD has now launched an investigation, and parents at the school said fathers or mothers who behave this way should be held accountable somehow.
“They need to be reprimanded,” said Tami Palladino, “and their children need to know exactly what was wrong.”
The student throwing the punches appeared in a fifth grade school play Thursday night. The Department of Education said the student and his parents met with the principal and that there will be swift disciplinary action, but there’s no word on exactly what it will be.
Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said it is a tough issue to address adequately.
“Look, we can’t control what every parent does in the city,” Fariña said. “We certainly know what’s appropriate and what’s not appropriate, and we certainly don’t think parents should discipline other people’s children or encourage that, and I trust principals totally to handle it in an appropriate manner.”
Earlier, some parents said the school had been awfully silent on the issue.
“I think the school should have reached out, sent a letter following the incident that this type of behavior will not be acceptable by any parent or any child,” said Joseph Gonzalez.
“Every child knows about it now,” added Palladino. “It’s being spoken about at home, in the yard. So yes, make some sort of assembly where they’re able speak to the children directly. And let the children speak back too.”
Police sources told CBS 2 that detectives have identified the man in the video, and would like to speak with him. Police and the Richmond County District Attorney’s office will decide whether or not to file charges such as child endangerment.
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