Video shows student at School of the Arts attacking staff members

ROCHESTER, N.Y. A 15-year-old student attacked multiple staff members at the School of the Arts in Rochester on Tuesday after the district said he was struggling emotionally.

Two school security officers were injured in the attack but not seriously. News10NBC has obtained a video of the melee that ensued during the incident. It shows multiple students and security guards involved in the fight.

At one point, a student is seen picking up a security guard and slamming him to the ground. After about 30 seconds, a number of security officers yell for someone to call 911.  

In a statement, a spokeswoman for RCSD said, “Earlier this week, when the school administrative and safety teams responded to support a student at School of the Arts who was struggling emotionally, the student became physical with several staff members. The school is taking the appropriate disciplinary action and will support the student and family with tools and strategies to assist the student. We are thankful no one was seriously injured during this situation.” 

RPD confirms that officers responded to SOTA on Prince Street around 3:30 p.m. after getting a 911 call with commotion in the background. Officers say that staff members tried to calm down the student, but he turned his aggression against the staff. 

The President of BENTE, the union that represents RCSD security guards, said this is just the latest example of the increasing risks his members face.

“Who wants to put themselves in a situation like that, where their health and safety is at risk?” said Dan DiClemente. “They have families of their own that they want to go home to.” 

He goes on to say that in many cases they are limited in what they can do to protect themselves. 

“They’re taught restraint techniques and if they go outside of those restraint techniques, the district has terminated them for that … so, where the kids have no rules, they have rules that they have to abide by,” DiClemente adds. 

The Rochester Teacher’s Union has expressed similar concerns about the safety of its members. 

Rochester Police say the security officers refused to press charges in this case, DiClemente said that’s a choice they make often. 

“Who the student or parents are affiliated with, you never know,” he said. “There’s more to it than just the altercation that you see, there could be a lot more to that and you could put yourself in a situation where you’re even more fearful based on who somebody might be connected with and what they might do to your family.”

DiClemente said he’s just relieved someone actually followed through on the request by the security officers to call 911.

“We’ve had some members reprimanded for calling 911 on their own, so everything seems to have to cycle through the school as far as when they call 911,” he told News10NBC. 

News10NBC asked RCSD if it has a policy on who can call 911 and when and what it’s doing to address the concerns of the unions about safety. We have not yet heard back from the district.