NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Disturbing videos circulated on social media and broadcast on Spanish language television have raised awareness of a violent incident that took place inside New Brunswick High School (NBHS).
Oscar Aparicio, Jr., a freshman at NBHS, told New Brunswick Today he was assaulted shortly before noon on Thursday, March 10, in the hallways of the school by someone he barely knew.
The 15-year-old city resident sufferred a fractured nose, a sprained shoulder, and also lost a tooth.
"They jammed it back in there," he said, adding that three of his other teeth were also damaged.
Aparicio mentioned that he was still suffering from bad nosebleeds and headaches two days after the attack.
Aparicio was jumped from behind, and the attacker, allegedly a junior at the school, is shown kicking and punching Aparicio as well as performing wrestling moves on him.
"After this, I no longer feel safe in school," said Aparicio, who was forced to miss an important soccer game, and stayed home from school on Friday.
His family says they want the attacker not to return to the school, but said that they were told by officials that a suspension of seven to ten days was more likely.
Aparicio's family is also concerned about how the incident was handled by the school district, specifically that no ambulance was called, and that a security guard may have been standing there watching it happen.
"I clearly saw a security guard before I got attacked," said Aparicio. The family said some of the videos circulating showed a female security guard hesitant to break up the fight.
The 27-second, low-resolution video obtained by New Brunswick Today begins with Aparicio being violently taken down and put in a chokehold, and then 23 seconds into the recording, a male security guard whisks the aggressor away.
In between, Aparicio is repeatedly punched in the face and, when he tries to get up, the attacker kicks him in the head.
"Who told you to get up?!?! I didn't say get up!! Do not get up!!" the attacker screams, before being taken away.
Aparicio told NBToday he was taken to the school nurse's office where he was interviewed by Jamaal James of the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) before his father drove him to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
The family says they are seeking justice in the incident, and that they are organizing a protest on Tuesday, March 15 at 4:30pm outside the Board of Education's headquarters, located at 268 Baldwin Street.
Family members said the protest's intent is to "open everybody's minds" and show others that "we are not alone."
Students and community members are encouraged to attend the protest to support the Aparicios and other families that have found themselves in similar situations.
Just how common is violence and bullying in city schools? In January, Superintendent Aubrey Johnson reported there were eleven incidents of harrasment, intimidation, or bullying in the prior month.
Four of the incidents took place in the city's Middle School, three at Roosevelt Elementary, three at Woodrow Wilson Elementary, and one at Lord Stirling Elementary.
It was more than twice the number of incidents reported during the same month one year earlier.
Johnson and Board of Education President Patricia Sadowski did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the video, or the incident.
NBPD Captain JT Miller also has not yet responded to New Brunswick Today's request for information about the incident. All three officials were asked why no ambulance was called.
The head of security at New Brunswick Public Schools is Peter Mangarella, a former NBPD Director who was allegedly forced out of that position after being accused of using a racial slur on the job, according to a lawsuit.
Mangarella was then hired shortly thereafter by the Board of Education, making way for NBPD Director Anthony Caputo to come out of retirement to once again lead the department, and for both men to make large salaries while simultaneously collecting six-figure police pensions.