GREECE, N.Y. (AP) — Three upstate New York high school students were charged Tuesday in the alleged bullying of a special needs classmate that was recorded and posted on social media.
The boys, all under 16, were charged with misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child. One of them also was charged with a felony count — possession of an obscene sexual performance by a child — for recording the alleged crimes.
Greece Police Sgt. Jared Rene said the charges relate to two incidents that occurred on different days in a bathroom at Greece Athena High School. He declined to release details, citing the ages of those involved.
The mother of the boy facing a felony charge said her 15-year-old son told her he recorded the boy as he voluntarily stuck his head in a toilet.
"He said, 'Hey guys — do you wanna see me drink my own urine?' But he said the p-word instead," Angela Fernandes told WROC of Rochester. "And they said, 'Well I'm getting this on film if you're going to do that.' He said 'OK' and the young man literally waited. 'Are you ready?' They said, 'OK, Yeah go.' And they all walked out of the bathroom together, laughing."
Reached by The Associated Press on Tuesday, Fernandes said her lawyer advised her to stop talking to reporters, but she confirmed the account she gave to the television station.
The cases are now in Monroe County Family Court.
The investigation began after a student reported the incidents to school officials, who in turn called police.
"One good kid stood up and saw something he knew was wrong and he reported it," Greece Police Chief Patrick Phelan told reporters.
He said the incident had been "traumatizing" to the victim.
The Greece Central School District said it is moving forward with its regular disciplinary process but would not say what that would involve.
"We have no tolerance for bullying or harassment of any kind, nor for individuals placing themselves in compromising situations to gain attention of others," a statement from Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams said. "We will continue to focus on our prevention programs and to recognize the many accomplishments of our talented students and hardworking staff."