Police arrest 11 in school brawl at Woodland Hills Junior High
By The The Tribune-Review
Published: Thursday, March 4, 2010
Swissvale police arrested 11 teens involved in an after-school fight today at Woodland Hills Junior High School, said borough police Chief Gregory L. Geppert.
The fight started in a parking lot outside the school on Evans Street while the students were waiting to get onto the school bus, Geppert said.
The junior high students are all 13 and 14 years old.
One large fight spilled into 10 smaller fights, Geppert said. Two Swissvale police officers assigned to the school and two school security guards called for additional police assistance when they couldn't break up the fights on thei
Eleven Woodland Hills Junior High School students were arrested following a brawl that erupted in the parking lot after classes Wednesday.
It was the largest fight in the past two years at the school on Evans Avenue in Swissvale, said borough police Chief Gregory L. Geppert. He said the neighborhood dispute involved students from East Pittsburgh and North Braddock.
"We used to go through this on a daily basis, but we've had 100 percent cooperation with the (present) school administration and school board," said Geppert. "The (Allegheny County) District Attorney's Office has been an astronomical help."
Two officers suffered minor hand injuries in the melee that erupted around 3 p.m. as students were boarding buses, Geppert said.
The school's two School Resource Officers -- borough police officers assigned to patrol the building -- and several security guards tried to break up the fight but couldn't stop other students from getting involved.
The officers called for backup, but before help arrived the fight "increasingly got out of hand," Geppert said.
When more than a dozen other officers from Swissvale, Edgewood, Braddock Hills and the Allegheny County Sheriff's Office arrived, there were about 10 separate fights going on, Geppert said.
Geppert said seven students were cited for disorderly conduct, four were charged with inciting a riot and resisting arrest, and two of them also were charged with aggravated assault for injuring the officers.
The four facing the most serious charges were turned over to juvenile authorities. The others were released to their parents.
Those arrested are between the ages of 12 and 14, Geppert said. Students in the seventh and eighth grades attend the school.
Woodland Hills officials are treating the incident seriously, said district spokeswoman Maria McCool.
"The students who were involved will be disciplined severely," she said. "We have no tolerance for this."
Geppert said he will recommend that a few of the students arrested be expelled from the school.
"One of them just got released from Shuman (Juvenile Detention) Center yesterday," Geppert said.
One parent, Michelle Washington, was angry that her son was arrested.
"They'll see us in court. My son was on the bus while the big fight was going on. They came on, pulled him off and arrested him. He didn't do anything," Washington said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.