A group of Brooklyn middle school students were kicked out of the National September 11 Memorial during a field trip Thursday after they threw trash in the fountains, the New York Daily News reported.
“They kicked us out because of littering in the water. Kids were throwing baseballs in the pond thing,” Junior High School 292 eighth-grader Anthony Price told the newspaper.
Witnesses also reported seeing empty plastic soda bottles and other garbage floating in the water.
“They were making jokes and throwing stuff in the fountain. It didn’t seem like a big deal,” a student told the Daily News.
Michael Frazier, a spokesman for the memorial, confirmed the students were removed for throwing items in the reflecting pools, which mark where the Twin Towers once stood.
Another student said their actions were not out of disrespect.
“No one was disrespecting. It wasn’t nothing like that,” the student said. “No one was being serious. Everyone was kind of bored and it was just something to do.”
New York Department of Education officials have launched an investigation into what happened, the Daily News reported.
In a separate incident, students said one of their classmates was caught trying to bring firearm ammunition into the site.
“The kid had three bullets when they went through the metal detector,” a student who wouldn’t give his name told the newspaper.
Police confirmed they found three .33-caliber rounds in a plastic bin in the memorial’s security area but said they did not make any arrests.
The National September 11 Memorial & Museum opened last year on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. In December, a Tennessee tourist was arrested after she tried to check her loaded gun at the site. Originally facing up to three years in prison, she took a plea deal that reduced the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor.