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The alleged attackers were three juniors at Rye High School whose victims were eighth grade boys from Rye Middle School, according to authorities.
It was all part of a ritual known as “Freshman Friday,” CBS 2’s Rachel Stockman reported.
The middle schoolers were picked up by the juniors outside of the Rye Library last Friday as part of an “initiation” into high school, police said.
“They just pulled up and approached them, they threatened him to get in the car. They said if they didn’t the beating would be a lot worse,” one of the victim’s mothers, who did not want to be identified, told Stockman.
They allegedly put the eighth graders in the trunk and drove them to the Rye Marshlands Conservancy, a local park. That’s where they allegedly pulled out a 2 by 4 and beat at least two of the younger students multiple times, Stockman reported.
“They had to go to a log, lean over the log, then they got hits,” the mother said. “As they were leaving, a black SUV pulled up with three more children — teenage — 17-year-olds from another school, and they had to go up against the fence and get hit again.”
Students at Rye High School said the “Freshman Friday” beat down is a tradition but this year it was particularly brutal. One of the eighth graders was hospitalized. The idea, students said, is to knock popular eighth graders down a peg in time for their freshman year.
“If you’re a good athlete, if you have older brothers who are well known … they pick you,” Rye High junior Alex Raynor told CBS 2’s Lou Young.
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After a weekend-long investigation, officers arrested 17-year-olds Tristan Scragg and Sean Pinson and 16-year-old Max Meyerson. They were charged with one felony count of assault and two misdemeanors, including hazing and unlawful imprisonment. As CBS 2’s Young reported, because the scene of a the crime was a county park, Westchester police and Rye police conducted a joint investigation. A source close to that investigation told Young that Rye cops were happy to let county officers make the arrests.
The district’s superintendent, Dr. Edward Shine, immediately posted a note on the district’s website that said in part:
“We are greatly disturbed by these allegations. We share our deep concern to the alleged victims and their families. Though this incident occurred outside of the school day and off school grounds, we must stress that there is, quite simply, no place in our schools or society for violent acts like those that have been alleged.”
Shine also added that “Some have suggested that these alleged acts are part of an annual ‘tradition’ at Rye High School. Let me be clear: just because a small handful of students choose to believe that this is the case, does not make it a fact.”
That point was disputed by some students, reported CBS 2’s Young.
“That’s a lie. It’s a lie. It’s been happening for years and if they really cared about it they should’ve done something about it a very long time ago,” Rye High junior Katie Weld said.
“It’s horrible and whoever pressed charges, they were right to do it. It should never be tolerated,” parent Yvette Vera-Pigmato told CBS 2’s Young.
“I can’t understand how it goes on or why it goes on,” one parent said.
The accused teens were in school Tuesday but may soon face disciplinary action. The most serious charge, 2nd degree assault, carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.MORE NEWS: New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza Stepping Down
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