Brawls break out in Florida school as more than a dozen students fight in hallway and cafeteria
A total of 13 students are now facing battery and disruption of school function charges
WARNING: Violent videos are included in this article. Reader's discretion is advised.
PASCO COUNTY, FLORIDA: Multiple students face charges after chaotic fights broke out on the school grounds on September 12. Corey Dierdorff, a district spokesperson, confirmed that 14 students were involved in two brawls inside Zephyrhills High School in Pasco County during lunch.
One brawl occurred in the hallway, while the other occurred in the cafeteria.
According to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, 13 students are now facing battery and disruption of school function charges. The district may also impose additional disciplinary measures on these students.
The videos show students piled on top of each other as they throw punches
Videos recorded on mobile phones of the two fights were widely shared on social media before they were removed. The videos show students piled on top of each other while fighting as staff members struggle to drag them apart.
At one point, the school's principal collapses after trying and failing to break up the fights, as reported by DailyMail.
Dierdorff stated in a press release that "the sheer number of students involved and the intensity of the situation made intervention challenging, as students continued to engage in the altercation despite efforts to de-escalate."
The school given 'controlled campus status'
The police were eventually called in to help control the situation. The school was then given a 'controlled campus status.' This meant that students and staff were kept under close supervision until they were dismissed.
In a Facebook post, the Pasco Sheriff's Office stated that "an increased law enforcement presence will remain on campus out of an abundance of caution for the remainder of the day."
Superintendent Kurt Browning releases statement
Superintendent Kurt Browning said in a statement released on September 13, "Let me be perfectly clear: behavior of this nature will not be tolerated in Pasco County Schools. Every student has the right to a safe and conducive learning environment, and we will take every necessary measure to ensure that this remains the case."
In addition to the charges, Principal Christina Stanley and other school officials are considering additional disciplinary action.
The students involved in the fights were barred from returning to campus the next day, and the district has stated that they will not be allowed back until the disciplinary process is completed.