A sixth grade student at Albert Leonard Middle School, on her way to school last week, was placed in a headlock and a gun put to her head by three 8th grade boys from Isaac E. Young Middle School. One of the boys made a threatening remark before releasing the girl. The other students on the bus were reportedly terrified.
Parents who contacted Talk of the Sound say they received no notification from school officials or the police about the incident, learning about the incident from their children after they got home from school later that day.
The students from the two schools were together on a Westchester County Bee-Line bus on Thursday morning.
The New Rochelle Board of Education has an agreement with Bee-Line to transport students to and from the district’s two middle schools. The particular bus where the incident took place picks up students from both schools in the East End of New Rochelle.
The three students with the gun exited the bus at Isaac Young. The Albert Leonard students remained on the bus, waiting until they arrived at Albert Leonard to notify Administrative Dean William Mackin. Mackin’s counterpart at Isaac Young, Daniel Gonzalez, was notified and soon after a police investigation was initiated at Isaac Young by Detective Ray Andolina, a Youth Officer in the Police Services Division PACT Unit.
The three 8th graders were suspended for five days pending a Superintendent’s hearing which may result in removing the three students from their school for the rest of the year. They would receive “homebound instruction” and likely be eligible to return in 9th grade at New Rochelle High School. The trio was not on the bus the following day, according to parents, although they could return to school later this week and would be able to ride the bus pending the timing and outcome of the Superintendent’s hearing.
The family of the sixth grader has not pressed charges. A charge in this case would typically be “menacing” although holding the girl in a headlock and bringing a weapon to a school could bring additional charges under New York State law.
The New Rochelle Board of Education has a “zero tolerance” policy for weapons possession although that policy has been routinely ignored by building principals over the years. The gun was later determined to be a pistol-style BB gun. Under the right circumstances, a BB gun can cause serious injury or death.