NEW YORK – A Manhattan high school student faces a felony assault charge after police contend he brutally beat his principal when the man attempted to force the teen to remove his headphones.
Manhattan Early College School for Advertising student Luis Penzo, 18, was charged arrested around 1 p.m. Monday and charged with second-degree assault after he allegedly sent principal Matthew Tossman to the hospital with severe injuries to his face, the New York Post reports.
Police allege Penzo’s headphones were blasting when Tossman approached him in the hallway around noon and asked him to turn down the music. When the student refused, Tossman attempted to remove the headphones, which allegedly sent Penzo into a rage.
“ … (T)he 18-year-old student cold-cocked the principal,” according to the news site. “Penzo continued to pounce on Tossman, socking him several times in the face, causing swelling and lacerations around both the principal’s eyes.”
A prepared statement released by the school contends “The NYPD immediately responded” and took Penzo into custody.
“The safety and security of students and staff is our top priority, and we are looking into it,” the statement read, according to WABC.
New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina told the news site Tossman “is recovering at home and we are expecting him to make a full recovery.”
“The student was arrested and that is a message in itself and of course I’m upset,” Farina said. “If you do anything wrong you are going to be arrested and I think we actually did wat we needed to do.”
The Post reports the incident was not the first time the student has taken his anger out on others.
“Penzo, who lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, was involved in a separate donnybrook just last month when he crashed his car into another vehicle in Williamsburg, then repeatedly punched the other driver, according to sources” cited by the Post.
“He was charged with assault and harassment for that incident,” the news site reports.
Tossman’s wife refused to discuss the incident with the Post.
Nobody answered the door when a WABC reporter went to Tossman’s Brooklyn apartment Monday.
The news site reports Tossman was a high school English teacher for several years before he was promoted to principal of Early College School for Advertising.
Students leaving the school after the incident were provided with a statement from school officials urging them not to speak with the media, though officials refused to share the statement with WABC.
Several students spoke with the television station anyway, and described Penzo as a quiet and punctual pupil.
“Luis is quiet. He keeps to himself,” classmate Ijanae Cavallero said. “I expect if you touch someone and break someone’s stuff, I mean, that would be a good reaction to me.”
“He was the type of quiet person that would always do his work,” student Melvin Rodriguez added. “He never messed with anybody, always come to class on time.”