A group of trespassing Dunedin High teenagers started the melee, say police, who arrested up to 10 students.
By ADRIENNE P. SAMUELS
© St. Petersburg Times, published September 21, 2002
CLEARWATER -- Police used pepper spray at Clearwater High School on Friday afternoon to break up a student fistfight started by trespassing teens.
It started just before 1 p.m. when students from Dunedin High School got on Clearwater's campus, according to Clearwater police. Those students started a fight with some Clearwater High students. The melee occurred when a number of students were outside in a grassy quad.
The school's on-campus police officer tried to break up the fight but was outnumbered, police spokesman Wayne Shelor said. The officer called for backup.
"She was outnumbered; she tried to break them up," Shelor said.
The officer used pepper spray, which wafted in the air and irritated as many as 100 students, Shelor said.
No one was injured in the initial fight and several smaller "afterfights," Shelor said.
At least a dozen police cars responded to the scene and officers paired in twos and threes walked the halls after the scuffle. Officers stopped students without passes and asked where they were going.
Clearwater High is surrounded by locked gates. The Dunedin students were let onto campus through the gate next to the gym that faces Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard, a Coca-Cola deliveryman said.
Police stayed in the school for the rest of the afternoon to make sure the hallways stayed safe for students, according to officers on the scene.
Police are investigating the reason for the fight.
"It appears there may be some friction between various groups of people," Shelor said.
One student was slightly injured while trying to get away from the fight, Shelor said. That student was trampled and got a cut on his face.
Fifteen students were held for questioning on Friday, police said. As many as 10 were arrested for criminal charges ranging from disorderly conduct to disruption of school functions, Shelor said.
Some students and parents hours later referred to the fight as a riot.
Fifteen students were held for questioning on Friday, police said. As many as 10 were arrested for criminal charges ranging from disorderly conduct to disruption of school functions, police spokesman Wayne Shelor said.
Shelor said it was nothing close to that, but that there were at least 100 witnesses.
"It was a good fistfight and nothing else," Shelor said. "Not by any stretch."