As school officials investigated allegations involving three track team members at Bronx High School of Science, students said the behavior did not come as a surprise.
Crystal Lam, a senior, said she didn't think bullying and hazing were problems at the school, but acknowledged there were rumors of bad behavior.
“I heard the track team is known for actions similar to that,” Lam said. “So I’m not surprised that word has gotten out.”
Other students also said they didn’t notice anything resembling bullying at the elite high school but still the news didn’t come as much of a shock.
“This is something kids, especially athletes, normally do,” said junior Jay Chow, who described the school’s athletes as "special" and "popular."
“Sometimes there’s bullying and fun, so the three guys may have not meant it in that way,” he added.
The student-athletes were arrested last Wednesday and charged as adults with multiple accounts of assault, harassment and hazing, according to the criminal complaint. The alleged victim, a freshman, accused the three defendants of sexual taunting, forcible touching, making threats of rape and haxing, all on school property.
The Daily News had an exclusive report in which they disclose an email from the athletic director, Marion Dietrich, who was suspended from her job on Tuesday, in addition to two track coaches. Dietrich allegedly knew of hazing problems for years.
Principal Valerie Reidy didn’t respond to calls for comment. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said it was an issue of concern that he was taking seriously.
“People like to joke, but there’s a very, very bright line between having fun with each other and hazing and doing something that may be hurtful to another person,” Walcott said.
Education officials last week suspended all events of the highly competitive track team; the three accused students are receiving instruction at another location.
The defendants pleaded not guilty at their arraignment on Feb. 28 and are due back in court on Friday.