INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Many parents say they are now concerned about safety on the Arsenal Tech High School campus after a fight Thursday caused a chaotic scene.
Thirteen Indianapolis Public Schools students were arrested and eight were injured during the incident. An IPS spokesperson said around 100 students were spectators during the fight. Facebook Live videos from students show large groups running around the school.
A FOX59 investigation reveals police used pepper spray in hopes of controlling the large crowds on school property. Records indicate an officer was hurt while responding to the scene. There were also reports of students on board a bus throwing firecrackers at authorities.
The fighting comes as the school adjusts to a larger student body. State data shows there were 1,965 students at Arsenal Tech High School last year. An IPS spokesperson said there are around 3,070 students this year.
The district has its own police department. There are usually four police officers assigned to Arsenal Tech, compared to three last year. The officers are handling about 1,100 more kids this year on school grounds.
"I’m scared for my kid even entering Tech High School and no parent should have to feel that way," said one mother, who asked to remain anonymous because she fears retaliation against her child. "There’s a fear that goes through you as a parent."
She said she chose to keep her child home from school Friday.
"No child’s life, no staff member's life is worth that," the mother said. "Nobody should have to fear that."
Some parents say the recent consolidation of high schools may have played a role in rising tensions on school property. IPS shut down three high schools and students were moved to the remaining four high schools.
"It's just too many, too many," said KeShondra Shaw, who is an Arsenal Tech parent. "Then they let other kids that’s not even in the neighborhood go to the school."
"None of this was lost on us when we started talking about closing high schools and consolidating schools," said Carrie Black, IPS spokesperson. "For people to make conjecture, assumptions that maybe this is due to the consolidation, we feel is premature but we’re not taking this lightly either."
Black also said the IPS Police Department is hiring and hopes to have more officers stationed at each school in the future.