NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. - The father of the North Tonawanda High School student, sent to the hospital Friday after a violent beating, tells 2 On Your Side the teen was transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital and diagnosed with a concussion.
Andrew Stone says his son has also been assessed by an ophthalmologist for a possible detached retina in his left eye.
He says his son's injuries are part of the reason he still hasn't filed a formal complaint with authorities, "I struggled with it all weekend. More concerned about my son and his well being."
Stone's 15 year-old son was punched in the face repeatedly by another student in North Tonawanda High School's cafeteria on Friday. The incident raised concerns and questions after another student posted the video of the incident on Instagram.
Stone tells Channel 2 he had reservations about filing a complaint with North Tonawanda police after how his son was treated the day of the incident, "They had told me that three officers did arrive within minutes. But upon talking to my son, who was in the hospital, one of the three officers stood outside the nurses station, while his eye is all swollen up and he can't see out of it and the pupil's not reactive, which is why they had sent him to the hospital. That one of the officers was standing there laughing at him."
Stone admits his son did not want to press charges for fear of retaliation, but the father says he can't remain silent. He contacted the Niagara County district attorney, and as of Tuesday afternoon, was waiting for a response.
2 On Your Side contacted the North Tonawanda High School principal for more information about what happened on Friday. James Fisher sent this press release:
We are shocked, dismayed, and greatly concerned by an assault committed by a 15 year old male student on Friday. A confrontation occurred in one of our cafeterias after another 15 year old male student had purposefully thrown food, striking other students. Our surveillance cameras captured the incident in its entirety. A female cafeteria monitor quickly became aware of the situation and surveillance footage shows that she immediately rushed to approach the student who had left his seat to confront the student who had thrown the food. The video footage clearly shows the female monitor attempting to intervene between the two male students. A second female cafeteria monitor, also stationed in that cafeteria, appropriately used her two-way radio to contact NTHS security staff for assistance. One student complied with the multiple verbal directives given by the cafeteria monitor, and eventually returned to his seat. The second student ignored the directives repeatedly given by the cafeteria monitor and then quickly proceeded to assault the seated student. The surveillance footage shows a NTHS security officer arriving in the cafeteria in the brief moments after the student committed the assault, and escorting the offending student from the area. This type of shocking and intolerable behavior is taken very seriously by the High School Administration. The North Tonawanda Police Department was immediately contacted to file a complaint and the offending student has been suspended from school.
Although the press release states a complaint was filed with police, Police Chief Roger Zgolak says that is not true. He says an initial report was filed.
"We have no complaint," Zgolak told 2 On Your Side's Emily Lampa on Monday. "No parent has come forward saying, 'My kid was beat up. I want somebody arrested. I want somebody charged.' "
Channel 2 asked Andrew Stone what he thought of the police chief's comments, specifically his statement that the incident was a "fight between 2 juveniles" rather than an assault, "It wasn't so much a fight between two juveniles. Had they both been standing, had my son not listened to the monitor and had he not taken that step back, put himself in a vulnerable position, sitting down then it would have been a fight between two kids. To me it appears more like it was an assault."
The North Tonawanda School District Superintendent also sent out a press release Tuesday:
The North Tonawanda City School District is dismayed by the altercation that took place in the High School cafeteria this past Friday. The District has long maintained policies and practices designed to prevent such an event from taking place. We will continue to take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of all of our students and employees.
Privacy concerns prevent us from commenting about any of the details of the altercation. However, the public should know that the school district is working with authorities to ensure that the proper steps are taken to address the situation. To the extent appropriate, disciplinary measures are being taken against those responsible. We are also working with the families to offer support and ensure this does not happen again.
But Andrew Stone told Channel 2, as of Tuesday afternoon, no one from the school district or high school had reached out to him yet.
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