Rumors of Massive High School Fight Started on Facebook

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AKRON, Ohio -- Students at Kenmore High School in Akron were sent home early Friday so the pepper spray used to break up a massive fight could be cleared.

The school was placed on lockdown around 9:30 a.m.

Police say at least one dozen students were taken into custody in connection with the fight and are expected to be charged with rioting.

No weapons were used, and no one was hurt.

One student, who suffers from asthma, was irritated by the pepper spray, which police said was used when the crowd could not be brought under control.

They believe it may have been the extension of a street fight between students from two different high schools that happened on Thursday.

At least one student from Buchtel High School was believed to have been involved in the fight at Kenmore that quickly overwhelmed school resource officers.

“It involved 20-30 kids. They do have two board security officers as well as one Akron police officer. The officers immediately went up to that area tried to disburse the kids, to break up the fight. That wasn’t working so they did deploy (pepper spray) and sprayed the kids to disburse the crowd,” said Akron Police Lieutenant Rick Edwards.

“It was very chaotic, you know. It started out with a couple people and ended up with a couple dozen people or more ,” said Akron School District Spokesman Mark Williamson.

As students called and messaged their parents, many were rushing to the school fearing the worst.

“I'm here because my daughter called me frantically screaming (saying they) put my son in handcuffs and threw him to the ground. She got maced, so I have been talking to my daughter on and off and she still don’t know where my son is at,” said Michelle Johnson.

“I knew my grandchild was OK because he called me, but this is just ridiculous, I mean you can't go to school and be in peace, they can’t learn because of the violence,” said Baheejah Waheem.

“Our security systems are not infallible -- if a student comes in the building and looks like a student, we might not necessarily spot that person quickly enough, and if that person gets in the building and runs up the stairs immediately, I mean this happens pretty fast,” said Williamson.

Parents say the fight was actually rumored to take place as early as the day before on Facebook.

“My daughter said to me that Kenmore High School will be on the news, and I asked her why and she said you'll see at 5:00,” said one mother who asked not to be identified.

Williamson confirmed that school administrators became aware of the Facebook threats early Friday but not before the fight already broke out.

“The word came in on Facebook right about the time that it started to happen, somebody found it on Facebook almost as the fight was evolving,” said Williamson.

Late Friday morning police were continuing to look over surveillance video from the school to try and identify any students involved in the fight who they still did not have in custody.

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