Thursday, November 20, 2008

13 students cited for Hunters Lane brawl

By Kate Howard • THE TENNESSEAN • November 20, 2008 About 100 students in a crushing swell were pushing and shoving, some fighting and others throwing up menacing gang signs, in the hallway of Hunters Lane High School. When it all died down, after watching some of her friends get hit and more than 15 students throwing punches, Brittany Anderson said she'd had enough. She called her parents to pick her up early Wednesday, and doesn't plan to return to school today. Anderson was on the fringes of the large-scale fight that broke out Wednesday during a class change at one of Nashville's largest high schools. At least 13 students were cited and taken to Juvenile Court on disorderly conduct charges, and police said about 100 people were peripherally involved by virtue of being in the hallway when the first fight erupted. Thirty patrol cars were on the scene within 10 to 15 minutes, said Metro police spokesman Don Aaron. He said there was no riot or concern that a riot was brewing, but the large presence was intended to get everyone under control. Gang signs flashed "There was one fight that was broken up, and a lot of other disorderly students in pockets of other altercations," Aaron said. "There were students throwing gang signs at each other, but we don't know if gangs had to do with the initial pushing and shoving.'' Metro Nashville Public Schools spokeswoman Olivia Brown said school officials are looking into whether the uproar started during a freshman assembly sponsored by the Governor's Highway Safety Office. Kendell Poole, executive director of the safety office, said it funds the game-show style program called ThinkFast. A local production company has put on the assembly, focused on safe alcohol choices, more than 60 times for Tennessee freshmen, Poole said. There was a three-minute period between the end of the program and dismissal, so the host put on a rap song. Students started throwing up gang signs and the song was quickly turned off, Poole said. "This is a very worthwhile program for students to learn, and they've come back with nothing but good evaluations," Poole said. Brown said the school with roughly 2,000 students is safe, and that incidents are down this year over last year. After dismissal, two more arrests were made, Metro police said. A 17-year-old student who was not allowed on campus told police he was picking up his friend, and police found a handgun in his car. A 20-year-old passenger was charged with possession of marijuana

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