Three students at a Manhattan high school specializing in culinary arts locked a classmate in a refrigerator and threatened to kill him, police said Tuesday.
The trio, all 16 years old and students at the Food and Finance High School on West 50th Street, blocked the door to the room to prevent anyone from releasing the victim from the commercial fridge May 6, investigators said. They also draped a T-shirt over the freezer window.
One student tapped on the fridge with knives and threatened to kill the 16-year-old victim, police said.
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The teen used his cellphone to call his mother from inside the refrigerator. She immediately called the school.
The victim was in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.
Students told NBC 4 New York the incident was a prank.
"They were all playing around and thought it was cute, but that's not something you play around with," said Indiana Mirabal.
The three students responsible were each charged with menacing and unlawful imprisonment.
The city Department of Education issued a statement stressing that student safety is a top priority and that the school will punish the three students.
"The school followed protocol in responding to the incident that was reported and the students involved were disciplined appropriately," the statement added.
School officials declined to elaborate on how the students will be disciplined.