Three boys attacked an instructional aide at the gymnasium of Eastside High School the day before the Thanksgiving break, according to a police report.
Ronnie Austin was attacked by the boys after telling them to go sit down. He observed a group gathering in the corner of the gym and intervened. One irate boy told him, “I [sic] not going anywhere.”
The boy then used his elbow to shove Austin in the chest and torso area, according to the report which states the incident took place on Nov. 22, 2017 at about 12:55 p.m. Austin, who has been working at the district for almost 13 years, signaled other staff members at the gym for assistance. Two other boys joined in and began “striking Mr. Austin in the back of the head,” reads the report.
One boy tried to flee after striking Austin. However, Austin chased him down. The report says one boy fell and struck his head on a bass drum suffering laceration to the head. The convoluted police report does not identify the underage students. The report does not clearly state whether the boy that ran was the one who fell and injured himself.
Police filed petitions against the three boys charging them with simple assault. Two of the boys were taken into custody and transported to the downtown Paterson police headquarters while the third, injured boy, was allowed to receive treatment.
Terry Corallo, spokeswoman for the Paterson Public Schools, said two weeks ago the three students involved were suspended for 10 days. She said the principal of operations followed procedures and submitted an incident report. A mediation session took place with the parents and students the next day, she said.
Some school board members said they were unaware and did not receive a report of the incident.
Footage of the incident circulated on social media. Some of the grainy and low-quality video was apparently edited and appeared to show a staff member attacking a student.
Police reviewed the surveillance footage at the school prior to taking the boys into custody, according to the report.
The next week, on Nov. 27, 2017, a student was involved in a fight at the school’s cafeteria. Footage surfaced that alleged to show the student being rough handled by a security guard. That video “only captures a very small portion of the full incident,” said Corallo.
“The security videotape showed that the security guard did not push the student. The student was fighting, his parents were notified and the student was suspended for five days,” said Corallo.
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This report was updated with a response from the district at 9:30 a.m. The district provided a response two weeks ago via email; however, it was not received by the Paterson Times.