INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A campus-wide disturbance broke out at Arsenal Tech High School, resulting in several arrests, minor injuries and kids being sent home early.
Police say the fight started Thursday afternoon between a handful students with more than a hundred kids looking on. Students FOX59 talked to say several smaller fights then broke out across the entire campus.
Indianapolis Public Schools says a total of 13 students were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. IPS Spokesperson Carrie Cline Black issued the following statement:
“We greatly appreciate the quick response from IPS Police and IMPD to protect our students. We are fortunate to have an ongoing relationship with the Peace Learning Center whose mission is to teach conflict resolution and build peace throughout the Indianapolis community. They have been working with our students as we have transitioned to our new high school experience. That work will continue throughout the school year.”
IPS said the district went from seven high schools last year to four high schools this year. Multiple parents say the district reorganization added hundreds of students to the Arsenal Tech Campus and called it a ticking time bomb waiting to go off.
"There was fights here and there last year but right now, it's just I think it's just 'cause they added more kids from different sides of town and different schools," student Tamia Murray said. "You can't add new kids into a new environment and they beefing like this."
One student said they were pepper sprayed as police tried to contain the scene.
"I just saw my little sister getting jumped on. I went to help her and officers started spraying us," said student Kiara Reed.
"This is what happens when you put 600 more students on a campus this big. You mix multiple gangs," said parent Merry Juerling. "It is clear they are setting this place up to fail. When you mix 600 new students and multiple gangs this is going to happen and I’m not okay that my child is not safe."
In all, the district says eight students suffered minor injuries. Most were treated at the scene, but three were transported to the hospital for further attention. IPS says one student hyperventilated, a second student had a hand injury and a third student injured an ankle. The ages of those victims have not been released.
Police did say there were no weapons involved at any time and the fight never spilled off campus into the surrounding neighborhoods.
IPS says there will be several enhancements Friday to ensure a smooth school day, including:
- Increased security by IPS Police, in cooperation with IMPD
- The IPS Crisis Response Team, a group of counselors and social workers, has been activated and will be on campus to provide emotional support to students
- Staggered lunches and a staggered school dismissal