30 Girls in Chaotic Pa. School Brawl Face Charges

Investigation indicates fight was started over ongoing neighborhood rivalry
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2016 12:25 PM CST

Up to 30 girls at a Pennsylvania secondary school were involved Monday in an all-out brawl, and some of them are facing charges, the Patriot-News reports. The University Prep magnet school was placed on lockdown during the incident, which mainly left students bruised and scratched, though one student was hospitalized (TribLive.com says it was for an asthma attack); a teacher, security guard, and city cop also sustained injuries, per KDKA. The fight, which the Patriot-News says started around 10am, was initially thought to have started over a boy, but Pittsburgh Public Schools rep Ebony Pugh now says it appears to have been a neighborhood rivalry among students from the Garfield and Hill districts. "I was in the corner, and they started hitting me, so my friends came in," one ninth-grader tells KDKA. "This is a school where … you just gotta fight."

Pugh concedes it "did take a while to get the situation under control," and although classes resumed as of Monday afternoon, parents and students note it's not the first time violence tied to the school has occurred: A male student was attacked in the school gym in August 2014, and a senior was shot and killed a few months later as he left his Hill District home. One mom says she even warned the principal weeks ago trouble was afoot. "You have children coming [from] different neighborhoods who have always hated each other," she says. "And you're shutting schools down, making them go to school with each other." A community nonprofit is urging school and city officials to address the issue, writing in a letter that "we are fearful that the current learning environment is hindering children from succeeding in the classroom and will set them back for years to come." The letter suggests more school counselors and security guards, as well as more help from Pittsburgh cops. (More Pennsylvania stories.)

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