Violent brawl erupts at Tucson High School after parent attacks kids bullying his special needs son
TUCSON, ARIZONA: More than 30 students and a parent were embroiled in a brawl at an Arizona high school during the lunch break.
The violent altercation at Tucson High School on Tuesday, May 3, resulted in a lockdown for several hours. Video capturing the disturbing scene made the rounds on social media as students were seen punching and kicking each other. The fight reportedly erupted after a parent walked onto campus to confront a group of kids attacking his ward, after receiving reports that his special needs son was going to "get jumped" outside of school.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, a relative of the parent said that he found out that the students attacked the boy's brother after he was sticking up for him. The parent, who can be seen in the video wearing a red shirt and jeans, entered the brawl and was captured laying on top of a teenager while grabbing him by the neck. Authorities said that the parent was taken into custody but his identity wasn't revealed for legal reasons.
The parent's sister Rosalinda Martinez told the newspaper that her brother had been released Tuesday night and was charged with class disruption. "The judge had seen all the videos and understood the circumstances and told him they could have done things differently and avoid it all," Martinez said. "I'm sure the kids are going to need some kind of counseling. That was too much trauma. One of my nephews had a concussion."
Tucson police believe the brawl broke out when the parent arrived at the campus during the lunch break. They said no weapons were used in the fight and no injuries were reported. Some posts on social media alleged that children were pepper-sprayed before the school went into lockdown and that there was a "heavy police presence" at the school.
However, police said that the responding officers did not use any type of force including pepper spray. "If it was used it was not by our department," TPD Sergeant Richard Gradillas told the newspaper. That said, at least 30 students took part in the on-campus altercation.
The school district released a statement addressing the brawl on Tuesday. "The school is currently in a safety protocol due to an incident on campus. Tucson Police Department and TUSD School Safety immediately responded and will remain on campus for the remainder of the day to ensure there are no additional issues," it read. "All students and staff are safe and the campus should return to its regular class schedule within the hour."
One parent, who claimed her daughter was pepper-sprayed in the altercation, said she hadn't been able to reach anyone at the school. "My daughter was not treated by the school nurse or any health official as they advised them to pour milk in their eyes and sent them back to class," Sistine Arvizu wrote on Facebook. "The school was on lockdown and I wasn't even able to pick her up to take her to be treated. Thankfully a kind teacher of hers helped her rinse. My daughter is okay now but she said many kids were affected by this."
That said, Tuckson Police vehemently denied using force on the kids and confirmed one person was in custody. According to Sergeant Gradillas, the school district's safety force responded to the scene first, but Tucson Police officers were summoned when the situation escalated. "This incident occurred in a large area of the campus during a busy time of day (lunch hour). The initial information I have indicates that no weapons were brought onto campus by the suspect and no injuries or medical transports have been reported," Gradillas told the newspaper. "We can confirm no TPD officers used any type of force that including pepper spray, if it was used it was not by our department."