After a teenager was charged with killing another student in a New York City public school for the first time in more than 20 years, principals and parents grappled with the hazards of what appeared to be a bullying problem, the Wall Street Journal reports. Some educators reinforced the message that harassment can happen anywhere and students must be vigilant. Police said a dispute escalated during a morning history class at Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation in the Bronx on Wednesday. Abel Cedeño, 18, was charged with murder after allegedly stabbing a 15-year-old to death with a switchblade knife and seriously injuring a 16-year-old. Cedeño’s lawyers at the Legal Aid Society cited a “long history of bullying and intimidation Abel has endured.”
Cedeño told detectives the two teens he stabbed were throwing pencils and papers at him before it turned violent. He said some students started harassing him before the start of the school year but didn’t specify that the teens he allegedly stabbed were among them. Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña sent families citywide a letter urging them to report concerns about safety or bullying. New York City has fostered campaigns to stop bullying through lessons in empathy, and training staff in conflict resolution. Thirteen percent of high school students reported in 2015 having been bullied at school, said the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The Urban Assembly School had no metal detectors until police installed them Thursday. Currently 88 city school buildings have scanners. Some parents argue that the devices keep their children safer. Opponents say they are degrading for students and waste their time in long lines.