A cruel remark about a recent suicide victim led to a six-girl fight at Schenectady High School Monday morning, one parent said.
Three girls were criminally charged, one for allegedly scratching a teacher who stepped between her and her intended target. A hall monitor also was knocked off her feet and had to be hospitalized with a head injury.
The mother of the girl who allegedly threw the first punch said her 16-year-old daughter, Nyasia Darby, snapped when other girls taunted her about her dead cousin, Cherelle Clarke.
Cherelle, 14, killed herself on April 2. Relatives said Cherelle had been bullied and beaten so badly that she had two broken ribs and a concussion. She would not name the girls who had attacked her, except to say that they were part of the 4 Block gang.
The day after Clarke killed herself, the 4 Block girls who attacked her said they were glad she was dead and that they might go to the funeral to “start trouble,” according to Michele Darby, who is Cherelle’s aunt and Nyasia’s mother.
“They made remarks to Nyasia that ‘she can get it too’ and ‘It’s a good thing Cherelle’s dead because she was gonna get jumped every time [we] saw her,’ ” Darby said. “Nyasia had enough. It’s just a little too much for a little girl to handle.”
Darby said Nyasia, 16, attacked the leader of the taunting girls just after school started Monday. She hit the other girl in response to another remark about Cherelle, Darby said.
According to Darby, two other girls attempted to pile in on the fight, and each was pulled away by Nyasia’s friends Aleeta Corpening, 16, and Domonique Clarke, 17, who is also Cherelle Clarke’s cousin. According to police, those girls pushed past or fought with school staff to get to their targets, and both were charged with assault. Darby’s daughter was charged with disorderly conduct.
The other girls, all believed to be connected to the 4 Block gang, were not charged. Darby said her daughter admitted to throwing the first punch — but said the other girls should be held accountable for the verbal harassment that led to the fight.
“They are the girls that are terrorizing the school,” Darby said. “When they said they’d go to the funeral to start trouble, Domonique reported it the day after Cherelle died. She gave them names. My daughter has given them the names. The school has to do more. The bullies are still in school.”
District spokeswoman Karen Corona said she could not comment on the allegations that the fight stemmed from bullying because the school and police are still investigating.
“Once the investigation is complete, hopefully we’ll know what caused the altercation,” she said.
Superintendent Eric Ely also said that no matter how badly the girls were provoked, they should not have resorted to violence.
“It’s unacceptable. I don’t care what it’s in response to,” he said.
Police spokesman Sgt. Eric Clifford said the fight started at about 9:15 a.m. when Darby attempted to hit another girl.
A male teacher attempted to intervene and got in the middle of the fight.
“The girls didn’t listen to him and they kept going at it. He ended up getting scratches all over his neck,” Clifford said. A hall monitor attempted to assist but wound up stunned on the floor.
“She was grabbed from behind by her shirt and thrown down to the ground,” Clifford said.
The woman suffered a head injury and was transported to Ellis Hospital.
Of the three girls arrested, Corpening has the most serious charge — felony assault. She pushed the hall monitor to the floor, Clifford said.
Darby said a girl fell into the hall monitor and knocked her down accidentally.
Clarke was charged with misdemeanor assault for her role in scratching the teacher, Clifford said. Darby was charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly starting the fight.
All three were briefly held in the Schenectady Police Department lockup before being arraigned in Schenectady City Court.