The Department of Education's Special Commissioner is investigating allegations that teachers at a Staten Island middle school observed students tormenting a Muslim classmate but did nothing to intervene. On Sunday, four students were arrested and charged with assault and aggravated harassment as a hate crime. Their alleged victim, who has only been identified as Kristian, suffers headaches and memory loss as a result of the bullying, and on one instance he was beaten so severely that there was blood in his urine. "[They] punched me in my groin, and I fell to the floor," he tells the News. "They started kicking me, and calling me 'You f****** terrorist,' 'You f****** Muslim.' "

Kristian's parents are meeting today with school officials about a "safety transfer" to another school, and they're planning to sue the city, citing two incidents in which teachers failed to report bullying when he was a student at Edward Markham Intermediate School. Their lawyer tells the News that Kristian's "gone from a joyful, smiling, all-American child to one who's withdrawn and quiet and sad. He receives psychological counseling, he has nightmares every night, and he's become withdrawn."

A teacher at the school tells the tabloid, "This kind of thing happens all the time here. It's swept under the rug." And one student recalled a lunchtime beating where a group knocked Kristian to the ground and beat him. "They were like animals," says the eighth-grader. "No one has your back here. It's messed up. He never bothered anyone."