Ten students from Mark Twain IS 239 for the Gifted and Talented were arrested for the brutal assault of a classmate that occurred on a shuttle bus in Coney Island last month, according to police sources.
On January 26th, a group of students attacked an 8th-grade classmate while riding an MTA bus transporting students from Mark Twain IS 239 to the Stillwell Avenue subway station. Horrifying video footage shows the victim screaming in pain as he is punched, slapped, and kicked by assailants passing him in the aisle. The assault continued for several minutes from the back to the front of the bus.
According to a description of a Snapchat image showing two handcuffed students, the victim was targeted for being “a fu***** weirdo” who “should have died.”
The failure of school administrators to address an ongoing bullying problem at Mark Twain and a culture emphasizing the school’s high-achieving reputation over student safety are being blamed for enabling these attacks, parents say.
Ongoing Pattern of Violence and Intimidation
This brutal assault follows a pattern of bullying and lack of accountability at the school. Last October, an 11-year-old girl was violently beaten by another student outside the school. Even after her attacker was briefly suspended, the bullies continued tormenting her when the school year resumed. The school recommended the victim transfer out of the audition-based performing arts program while allowing her attacker to remain enrolled.
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“That girl was there and was able to participate in the action because she has not faced any real repercussions,” said the father of the latest victim, indicating the previous attacker was among those involved in the bus beating.
Parents argue that the competitive toxicity at Mark Twain promotes bullying without consequences. “There are no consequences for the bullies,” explained one mother who removed her child from the school last year. She said administrators are more concerned about protecting the school’s elite national reputation than addressing safety issues.
Calls for Increased Safety Measures
In response to the brutal bus beating captured on video, the New York City School Safety Coalition called for placing police officers on buses in addition to trains to protect students. “We need safe corridors,” the group said in a statement while sharing additional footage of the Mark Twain assault.
The NYPD has filed juvenile reports on the 10 arrested students. The victim was hospitalized and remains in recovery. School administrators declined requests for comment on further disciplinary actions against the perpetrators or changes to school safety policies.