Nine Connetquot High School students were arrested after a brawl earlier this month left one teen with a broken jaw, Suffolk County police said.
The off-campus fight on a Saturday afternoon on Remington Avenue in Ronkonkoma was caught on video by a bystander, police said. The video, which was obtained by multiple news outlets, shows a teen in a blue Nike sweatshirt handing a bat to another individual before the melee broke out. One of the participants purportedly can be heard making a reference to brass knuckles.
The fight reportedly lasted about 10 minutes. The video, apparently captured on cell phone video, shows teens throwing haymakers and wrestling on the ground. One individual is seen straddling a rival while landing repeated blows to the head.
Four of the students arrested are being charged as juveniles and will be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip at a later date.
Five others, ages 16 to 18, were arrested on a range of charges, including assault, disorderly conduct, unlawful assembly and harassment.
Carl Knight, 17, of Ronkonkoma, was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, a class a misdemeanor—the most serious of the charges.
A tenth individual is also being sought, according to reports.
The weekend fight appeared to stem from a “verbal altercation” on March 6, the day preceding the incident, Connetquot Central School District Superintendent Lynda Adams said in a statement released shortly after the brawl.
In another statement—the third released by the district since the fight—Adams said high school officials immediately intervened following the verbal dispute and met with the students who were involved.
“Outreach was made from school officials to the parents/guardians of the students involved in the verbal altercation,” she said. “The intention was to make the parents aware of the school district’s concern that the verbal argument could grow into something more serious over the weekend outside of the school district’s jurisdiction.”
The school district also responded by increasing security at the high school. On March 9, the first day school was in session since the fight, all students’ backpacks were searched. The high school also conducted random bag searches.
The brawl sparked immediate outrage in the community, leading to a packed school board meeting in which parents expressed dissatisfaction with the school district. Among the initiatives adopted as a result of the meeting was the formation of a “Connetquot School’s Task force” tasked with reporting to the Board of Education any programs that would help ensure “a safe, productive school environment.”
The school district on Thursday, through a spokeswoman, declined to comment on the arrests, citing the ongoing police investigation.