About 10 bullies kicked and punched two Asian-American students in between classes Friday morning at Edward W. Bok Technical High School, authorities said.
The attack, which left the immigrant students, ages 14 and 15, with cuts and bruises on their faces, was apparently part of a preplanned freshmen hazing ritual, said Fernando Gallard, spokesman for the school district.
But the hallway rumble wasn't written off as a boys-will-be-boys coming of age tale. Philadelphia police charged one of the bullies, 14, with assault and related offenses, said police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore. That student has been suspended and could face expulsion, Gallard said.
Although that student is black and both victims are Chinese-Americans, authorities don't believe the incident was racially motivated, like the violence that plagued Asian students at South Philadelphia High School last year, Gallard said.
Bok officials received calls from parents on Friday morning, Gallard said, about rumors of freshmen hazing that was supposed to unfold at Bok, at 9th and Mifflin streets, and at Edison and George Washington high schools. There were no reported problems at the other schools.
Gallard said the Bok students were set upon on their way to class about 10:15 a.m. as chants of, "Freshmen! Freshmen!" filled the halls. The 14-year-old was pummeled when he tried to come to the aid of his friend.
"A school police officer broke up the fight," Gallard added. "We apprehended one student, and we're trying to ID another."