INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—School and city leaders are dealing with the aftermath of fights at Arsenal Tech High School.
IPS says the fights started with a small group of students, but grew to a crowd of more than 100 watching. Police believe it started with a food fight in the cafeteria that spilled outside. It left multiple students with minor injuries and 13 arrested for disorderly conduct.
“This is the 12th one in five minutes,” a student can be heard shouting on a Facebook live video of the incident shared with CBS4 News.
Tamia Murray returned to school Friday alongside her classmates, but said she was suspended for recording the video.
“I told him it was because I wanted to show everybody how these kids were acting,” she said of her conversation with a school leader.
“I said well why is she suspended for video recording when the whole half of the campus was out there video recording,” her mother, Paula Murray, said.
An IPS spokesperson said they can’t comment on specific student discipline. They said no student was disciplined for sharing video with the media, students would have only been disciplined according to the cell phone policy.
It’s part of the fall out IPS is dealing with one day after the incident.
“I’m not going against the school, I’m going against IPS, how they put the kids together, I want my education, they messing up my education fighting,” Tamia Murray said.
“It’s like bringing east side kids with west side kids, you don’t know who’s in gangs and you’re bringing them together,” Paula Murray said.
The Murray’s concerns were shared by other parents at Arsenal Tech. The school saw an increase of students after IPS went from having seven high schools last year to four high schools this year.
“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,” IPS spokesperson Carrie Cline Black said.
Neither are community leaders.
“I was a little bit taken back, because school just started, but also at the same time I was almost waiting for something like that to occur just because of the merging of all of the schools,” Shonna Majors, the city’s community violence reduction director, said.
Majors and her team visited campus today to offer support for students and families.
“My main focus of the conversation today is just really get their feedback, how they felt about yesterday, what can they do differently and what not, how they can solve things a heck of a lot differently than, you know, strong interaction with conflict,” James Wilson, the community resource coordinator for the city, said.
“That’s the reason my staff and I were there yesterday and came back again today, to ensure that we’re showing the message that we’re here for the students and we want to help make that transition as seamless as possible,” Majors said.
Majors said they also talked with the IPS superintendent about going into other IPS schools to start an anti-violence campaign, including conversations about gun violence, physical violence and teen dating violence.
Following Thursday’s fight, police said they would work to make sure there was no retaliation. There was increased security at the school Friday and a crisis response team on hand to talk with students.
Police said they’re still working to determine the cause.
As for Tamia Murray, she said she can’t go back to school until Wednesday.