Fights break out at local schools, deputies respond

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

Classes were disrupted at two local schools Wednesday when several fights broke out. Sheriff deputies were dispatched and several students left school.

According to Capt. Roy Freine of the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, the calls to dispatch deputies to Keith and Southside High schools came in around 8:15 a.m. Both fights broke out in the schools’ cafeterias. Freine said no deadly weapons were involved, and no arrests were made.

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Chief Deputy Randy Pugh of the Dallas County Sheriff&8217;s Department said the fights seemed to have been fueled by off-campus altercations that carried over to school grounds. A sheriff&8217;s deputy and full-time security guard were on site in front of the school during the afternoon hours.

Pugh said eight Keith students and 10 Southside students were released to their parents after their background checks at the Dallas County Juvenile Probation. While the incidents are still under investigation, charges could be filed later.

At least one parent was called to pick up her child from Southside after the school went on a lockdown status known to students, faculty and staff as &8220;code blue.&8221; Denise Thomas, whose daughter, Lashay, is a 10th-grader, said she received a call at work about 2 p.m., several hours after the altercation.

Lashay said fighting is common on the high school campus. Several fights broke out yesterday, students said.

On Tuesday, the &8220;code blue&8221; meant that students stayed in the same classroom until dismissal at 3 p.m., said

Dr. Fannie Major-McKenzie, Dallas County superintendent of education, who added that the incidences are under investigation by her office.

The superintendent would not comment on either school&8217;s disciplinary actions, but did say, &8220;We followed procedure.&8221;

The school&8217;s policy on fighting is outlined in the school handbook, said Major-McKenzie. Each child is issued a handbook, she said, and disciplinary actions for fighting are outlined by levels or category. Suspension can follow depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident.