Police respond to fight at Groveport Madison High School

By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

Officers from three police departments responded to a brawl that broke out among students at Groveport Madison High School on Nov. 15.

According to Groveport Police Chief Casey Adams, a disturbance occurred among students in the school cafeteria around 12:30 p.m. He said it is believed that verbal altercation stemmed from a dispute among students earlier that morning at a school bus stop located outside of the city of Groveport.

In a written statement, school officials said that the verbal altercation was “broken up before it could escalate into a fight. Because of the large number of students who gathered around, the school resource officer requested additional police support to ensure the situation remained under control.”

About 10 police officers from the Groveport Police, Madison Township Police, and Franklin County Sheriffs deputies responded. Officers spread out around the cafeteria hoping their presence would calm the situation, according to Adams.

“Our presence didn’t seem to phase the kids,” said Adams.

Then, according to Adams, around 1 p.m., he saw students running to a nearby academic hallway as what he termed, “a large scale fight” involving about four students broke out.

He said a large crowd of students gathered around to watch the fight and make videos of it. School staff, security guards, and police officers worked to break up the fight and disperse the students. As they did so, Adams said some school staff, security personnel, and officers were struck by punches from the fighting students.

“The students weren’t trying to hit the officers and staff, but the kids were just throwing wild haymakers,” said Adams.

Police made the decision to use pepper spray to end the fight and disperse the crowd.

Adams said a full, four to five ounce bottle of pepper spray was emptied on to the crowd.

“The decision is use pepper spray was made after verbal and physical efforts to stop the fight and disperse the crowd failed,” said Adams. “The use of pepper spray prevented major injuries from occurring and stopped the incident from getting further out of control.”

He said after the pepper spray was deployed the crowd of students rushed out of the hallway.

Adams said there were no reported injuries from the fights and those hit with pepper spray were treated.

When asked why the fights occurred, Adams said police “are not getting a lot of cooperation” from those involved.

No arrests were made yet, but Adams added, “We’ll look at the security video to see who the instigators were and pursue criminal charges. We are not going to tolerate it.”

Recently two students were found in possession of hand guns at the high school, but Adams said there were no weapons involved or reported in the Nov. 15 altercations.

“My big fear is if one day weapons were to get involved with fights. Weapons would make a situation 10 times worse,” said Adams. “We are aggressive whenever there are reports of weapons at the school and we take immediate action.”

Adams said representatives from the Groveport Police, Madison Township Police, and Madison Township Fire Department will meet with Groveport Madison Schools officials on Nov. 17 to discuss safety issues.

In a letter sent to parents, students, and staff, Groveport Madison High School Principal Duane Bland wrote, “While fights of any kind are unacceptable and remain a serious concern, it’s important to keep in mind that the vast majority of our students behave themselves as expected and consistently follow the instructions of school personnel. When students refuse to follow the rules and cause disruptions for everyone else, we will take firm action(s) to address their behaviors.”

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