Two physical altercations at Cheltenham High School in north Philadelphia left seven teachers and three safety officers injured.
Four students were also arrested, according to a statement by the Cheltenham School District Thursday morning. “It goes without saying that the violence that transpired on Wednesday is intolerable and heart-wrenching,” they said in a statement.
The fights broke out on Wednesday, shortly after school started.
Linda Jones, a long-term substitute teacher, sustained the worst injury while trying to break up a fight between four girls. It started between two girls leaving homeroom, but two of the girls’ friends also joined the fight. Some students recorded the fight on their phones.
As Jones tried to stop the fighting girls, she was hit in the head by someone’s elbow. She bounced off and struck her head against a locker, collapsing unconscious to the floor. After police arrived, Jones was removed by stretcher. She was taken to Abington Hospital-Jefferson Health and treated for a concussion.
Later that same afternoon, a second fight erupted. A witness said 60-70 students gathered to watch two students “brawl in front of the principal’s office at the end of the school day.”
The four arrested students were all girls and included three juveniles and one adult, Amber Lewis, 18. Lewis was charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, harassment, and recklessly endangering another person.
The district said it would add more personnel to the school and that counselors would assist students and faculty in need of emotional support. In addition, McFall will hold meetings to assess the “school climate.”
“Such behaviors do not represent the larger student body community,” the Cheltenham School District said in their statement. “The district will impose severe sanctions on abuses of our code of conduct and will actively follow through with concrete measures, like the ones listed above, to ensure a healthy school culture for all.”
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