PITTSBURGH – Police expect to file criminal charges against as many as 30 girls involved in fight at Pittsburgh’s University Preparatory School Monday morning.
Pittsburgh Public Schools spokeswoman Ebony Pugh told about 30 students were arrested after a fight between four female students at the school broke out around 9:45 a.m. and devolved into a massive brawl that forced school officials to institute a lockdown, WTAE reports.
Parent Charmaine Demus told the news site she was speaking to her daughter on the phone inside the school during the melee.
“I just heard a lot of commotion,” she said. “And then I heard the girl screaming. I mean just screaming. I was like, ‘Angel try to calm her down.’ There was no calming her down.”
Pugh was unsure of the ages of the students involved, but said other than an asthma attack suffered by one student, there were only minor scratches and bruises and no school officials were injured.
Officials told CBS Pittsburgh the fit started with two girls arguing over a boy.
The news site reports several parents attempted to pull their children from the school but were unsuccessful because of the lock down.
“When I got here, I talked to her and they said she can’t leave, they have the school on lockdown,” parent Charmaine Bemus said. “I’m like, ‘What the hell is going on up there?’”
Pugh classes resumed after police broke up the fight.
“It did take a while to get the situation under control and those students are being taken home and removed from the building,” she told CBS Pittsburgh.
Images from the scene published by PennLive show at least 12 police vehicles responded to the school.
“Sources inside the school are saying that some teachers are ‘enraged’ at school continuing as normal Monday,” WTAE reports. “Sources said some teachers have concerns about their safety.”
Student Amina Morris, 14, told the news site she was involved in the fights, which have been an ongoing problem at the school.
“They caught me when I was like walking down and my friends was back there,” Morris said. “That’s when I starting fighting the one girl by the door, and that’s when her friends came and they started hitting me.
“It’s been happening for a while,” she said. “I’ve fought them before and they just keep going.”
Parents told the news site they’re tired of the violence.
“When she comes here she should be safe and get an education,” parent Jascica Thrower said. “She can’t even come here and get an education, and this is just sad. It’s sad.”
At least one parent who commented about the situation online pointed out the school’s unsurprisingly poor academic performance.
EdStern posted a link in the PennLive comments section to the school’s state performance report card that shows only about 32 percent of students are proficient or advanced in math, only 33 percent in literature, and an abysmal 9 percent of students score proficient in science based on standardized tests.