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Limit to visitors at William Floyd high school

Jermell Dixon, 19, a William Floyd High School

Jermell Dixon, 19, a William Floyd High School student, says he was beaten up at school because he is gay. (March 3, 2010) Photo Credit: News 12 Image

The William Floyd School District will limit visitors permitted during school hours at the high school after two men who arrived at the high school with the mother of a student beat another student this week.

School Superintendent Paul Casciano said Thursday that a maximum of two adults will be allowed into the Mastic Beach school when they come during school hours to sign in and pick up their children.

"We are going to limit the number of individuals with a party," Casciano said.

Justin Higgins, 21, and Nashon Minter, 19, both of Mastic, have pleaded not guilty to charges of felony assault as a hate crime in connection with Tuesday's altercation. Higgins and Minter arrived at the high school with Ericka Hill and a fourth person to collect Hill's daughter, who is also Higgins' sister.

Hill's 14-year-old daughter had been involved in a fistfight earlier in the day and was being suspended, school officials said.

Casciano said school security was still checking in the group when Higgins and Minter spotted student Jermell Dixon, 19, and "bolted" after him.

The pair caught Dixon and kicked and beat him in a hallway, officials said. The attack was broken up by security guards and teachers but Dixon's eye later required stitches and his attorney said he will have surgery on his eye Friday.

Police said the pair yelled anti-gay slurs during the assault.

Phyllis Lingg, who has a daughter in the high school, agreed with the security policy change.

"I don't think they have a choice," she said."And security has to be what it has to be."

Higgins' lawyer, Jamie Rosner of Patchogue, has said Higgins and Minter beat Dixon because they were angry he'd threatened and teased Higgins' sister.

Dixon's attorney, Kenneth Mollins of Melville, has acknowledged there was "bad blood" between Dixon and Higgins' sister but said the alleged slurs showed gay bias was a significant factor.

With Andrew Strickler

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