NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Fourteen teenage students, twelve juveniles and two adults, were taken into police custody after a large fight at John Overton High School on Tuesday.
The school was placed on lockdown due to the fight around 11 a.m. Metro police said no serious injuries were reported.
According to a Metro Schools spokesperson, the fight may have stemmed between rival gangs. Metro police later added the students appear to be of Latino and Kurdish descent.
All 14 of the students faces charges of disorderly conduct. One 17-year-old faces an additional charge of resisting arrest because he allegedly attemped to grab a gun from one of the officers, according to police. Police initially said a total of 16 students were involved in the incident.
The two adults were identified as Bayar Abdullah, 18, and Azad Abdulah, 19. The identities of the others won’t be released due to their age.
Metro Nashville Public Schools sent a statement Tuesday afternoon that said, in full:
It is unfortunate such an incident occurred on the last day prior to break. Principal Dr. Jill Pittman and her team will continue to work with staff to maintain a positive and safe school environment at Overton High School when school resumes. All students involved will be disciplined appropriately.
Next week, MNPS will have counselors proactively working with students as well as with community partners to identify and understand the challenges students may be dealing with in their communities that would result in today’s issues. The district is committed to providing a safe and secure learning environment for all students through its relationship with law enforcement and its various community partners.
SRO supervisor weighs on fights in schools
Law enforcement officials say these conflicts usually begin outside the classroom.
“It usually starts in the community, not in the school,” said Lt. Danny Hurst, an SRO supervisor with the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office. “Then it overrides and comes into the school after the community.”
Lt. Hurst knows all too well the impact of these fights, after a gang related incident earlier this year at Gallatin High School.
“That was one that slipped through the cracks, involving cliques they call them, from two different neighborhoods,” he said. “They got in a fight out in the community, which police actually responded and got that – So that tension was there, and unfortunately we weren’t in the right place at the exact right time.”
For law enforcement, preventing these conflicts is a team effort between a School Resource Officer (SRO), the school staff, and most importantly, the students.
Lt. Hurst says communication is key, talking the tension out before it erupts in the hallway.
He emphasizes though that safety precautions in schools are extensive, and the number of conflicts that are resolved peacefully, with the help of school officials, far outnumber actual fights.
“You can buy all the cameras, you can buy thousands of dollars-worth of cameras, metal detectors, it doesn’t matter,” Lt. Hurst added. “It’s the atmosphere of the school, where they talk to you, where [students] know they can come and talk to an SRO, administrator, teacher, peer, that will come and let us know.”