That “all-out brawl” at South High in Minneapolis got coverage from virtually every local outlet. At WCCO-TV, Esme Murphy reports: “Twelve people complained that they had been sprayed with mace. Police at the scene said they had to use chemical agent to get the crowd under control as they were being pelted with objects as they tried to break things up. … [One student] said the fights were over pride. ‘I know it’s a pride thing between Muslims and black people,’ she said. ‘They want their pride back for something. I don’t know.’ She also said ‘boys were hitting girls’ and that some people were lying on the floor, with their hands over their heads, in surrender.… The fight, students say, was the result of long-simmering tensions between the 8 percent of students who are Somali Americans and the 20 percent who are African Americans.” (Minn Post)
Wait till they outnumber the local students. The Somalis do not have the advantage yet. At last count there were more than 60,000 there, and the city got big money to allow them there under the Refugee Resettlemnt Program.
Fight at South High leads to melee involving 200 to 300 students Star Tribune staff writers, February 14, 2013
Police descended Thursday afternoon on a cafeteria melee involving hundreds of Minneapolis South High School students that some said is connected to long-running racial tension in the school among Somalis and others.
After-school activities will go on as scheduled, but a district spokesperson said officials are debating canceling classes on Friday to let the situation calm down. Monday is a day off, due to President's Day.
Police said three students and one staff member were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. No weapons were involved and no one was arrested but charges ranging from rioting to disorderly conduct could be filed, according to Police Sgt. William Palmer.
"But that investigation is going to take time," he told news media gathered at the school. Police have surveillance images from cameras inside the school, said Palmer, who added that Mace was needed to calm the unrest.
The incident happened almost one month after four students at Minneapolis Washburn High School were disciplined for dangling a dark-skinned doll by a piece of string in a school stairway. Tensions flared and after-school activities were cancelled after the Jan. 17 incident.
At South on Thursday, Palmer said tensions started during first-hour lunch at about 11:45 a.m. when one student threw a milk carton at another, sparking a small fight. By the third lunch hour at about 12:45 p.m., unsubstantiated rumors about that initial fight spread, erupting into the melee involving 200 to 300 students pushing, shoving and throwing items, he said. Twenty to 25 staff members tried to intervene, as did two School Resource Officers who ended up calling Minneapolis police for back-up.
Palmer said students were not dispersing or following orders so Mace was sprayed into the air, successfully breaking up the fighting. "We're very fortunate no one got seriously hurt," he said.
A chaotic scene
Students said some people were stomping on others and throwing bottles until police arrived at the school, located about a block south of East Lake Street off of 19th Avenue.
Junior Simon Quevedo said fights during the first two lunches escalated as word spread. "People came in to back up their friends and it turned into an altercation," he said. "I was a bit scared because you never know what people will have on them."
Student Council president Connor Bass described the scene as "chaos" until it was broken up. The senior said five to six fights were going on simultaneously.
"When the cops came and started spraying Mace it was just pandemonium with people trying to run away," he said.
Tensions stayed high after school, but violence did not reignite when words were exchanged in the school parking lot after classes were dismissed.
Junior Adnan Farah, standing with his mother, said the violence "was a racial issue. This is just the biggest one throughout the year."
Guled Omar, a senior, said he was sitting in the cafeteria when the outburst began after a boy hit a girl.
"I don't feel safe here," Omar said. "This is something that has been going on" for at least two years, he said.
"I don't know if it's because we're minorities of the newest immigrant group," Omar added, saying he has complained to the principal and the School District.
Minneapolis Public Schools spokesman Stan Alleyne said the district takes racial complaints seriously and that the school is safe.
Amateur video shows fight
"A food fight ... escalated into a physical fight" during the third lunch period that lasted about 15 minutes, the school said in a notice posted on its website.
"Staff members responded immediately to the incident and followed proper security procedures," the statement continued. The campus was placed on "code yellow" lockdown through the school day, with students remaining in their classes before being dismissed as usual.
Amateur video posted on KSTP-TV, Channel 5, shows many students scattering during the incident amid the cafeteria tables. Some of the tables were adorned with helium-filled balloons for Valentine's Day.
"Fighting is not tolerated at school or on school property," the school's statement said, adding that the School District will follow its discipline policy in dealing with incident.
Previously at Atlas: