Brawl breaks out at JFK’s last graduation


Chaos broke out at the end of John F. Kennedy High School’s (JFK) graduation ceremony Thursday night when one of the new graduates suffered an attack allegedly involving two other students and one of their parents, who was arrested. 

Marylyn Cruz, 18, said as students left Manhattan College’s Smith Auditorium after receiving their diplomas, two of her classmates approached her, threatened her and began to hit her. The evening marked the last graduation ceremony for JFK, which closes after this school year.

Witnesses said that soon after, one of the alleged assailant’s fathers joined in the fight, trying to choke Ms. Cruz. Meanwhile, parents sought to separate the victim from her attackers and fistfights broke out between other attendees at the ceremony.

Police confirmed that they arrested the father, 46-year-old Robert Holmes, and charged him with assault.

Police added they did not arrest the two students who initiated the attack on Ms. Cruz. Ms. Cruz’s mother, Yessenia Cruz, said her family would press charges over the incident.

“It’s a mess,” said Yessenia Cruz, 35. “I can’t even believe that this happened. The parents were out of control.”

The attack left her daughter with a five-inch scratch extending from her collarbone down to her chest.

“I feel upset. It burns,” Marylyn Cruz said of the scratch. “It’s crazy because they both charged at me as I was coming out."

A JFK administrator pulled Marylyn Cruz out of the brawl and led her to a bench away from the altercation, but the assailants pursued her.

John F. Kennedy High School, JFK, Marylyn Cruz, Robert Holmes, Assault, Graduation, Lisa Luft, Manhattan College, Maya Rajamani
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