NewsEducation / March 8, 2016

Parent, Teens Storm Into Arlington For Fight, School Officials Say

A parent and group of teenagers were arrested Tuesday after allegedly storming into Arlington Community High School as part of an ongoing feud between two students, according to school officials.Arlington Community High School2016-03-08T00:00:00-05:00
Parent, Teens Storm Into Arlington For Fight, School Officials Say

Indianapolis Public School Police Sgt. Floyd Peterson walks a teenager down the hallway at Arlington High School on Wednesday March 8, 2016. Seven juveniles were arrested and more were initally detained by IPS police aftter a fight between two students that also involved individuals from outside the building.

Eric Weddle / WFYI Public Media

This is part of the series A New Day about Arlington Community High School.

 
Updated 10:52 a.m. March 9, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS -- A parent and a group of teenagers were arrested Tuesday after allegedly storming into Arlington Community High School as part of an ongoing feud between two students, according to school officials.

It was the second time this academic year that an adult managed to get inside the Northeastside school to either assault a student or incite a fight between students. 

Shortly after noon Tuesday 34-year-old Trisha L. Gunn -- a familiar face to Arlington staff and the mother of a 15-year-old female student -- rang the buzzer on a security camera outside the school’s front door to request entrance, school officials said.

When the door was unlocked, according to school staff, up to seven juveniles who were not initially visible on the security camera followed the parent into the school.

Gunn and the juveniles then made their way through the “welcome center” where they ignored the receptionist's order to stop and not enter the school’s main floor, Arlington dean Brian Dinkins said.

Once on the main floor, they headed to the gym in the back of the school where a fight took place between Gunn's daughter and a 17-year-old female student.

Dinkins said he, along with a building police officer and assistant principal, were contacted immediately about the breach and when they reached the gym found the mother encouraging her daughter to brawl.

Mace was used to break up the melee and more than a dozen students could be seen running away from the area with watery eyes, coughing and other signs of discomfort.

Seven Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers assisted Indianapolis Public Schools police at the scene.

Gunn was arrested on suspicion of two counts of criminal trespass, a Level 6 felony, and two counts of disorderly conduct, a Class B misdemeanor, according to the Marion County Jail website.

Seven juveniles were arrested, including four 15-year-olds and three 17-year-olds, and taken to the Juvenile Intake Center, according to an IPS police report. Some of the teens told police they did not attend a school but were home schooled.

'Won’t Be Coming Back To This School'

Clifton McReynolds, father of the 17-year-old victim, arrived at the school as police and staff were still sorting through what happened.

McReynolds said he was ready to "break down and cry" because of what happened to his daughter.

“I don’t understand how they can came in from the front door and make it all the way to the back of the building…without any security, any teacher, anybody knowing what is going on,” McReynolds said as his daughter sat nearby and her injuries photographed by a police technician. “You can see for yourself her face is messed up from adults. As of today, she won’t be coming back to this school.”

No weapons or serious injuries were reported from the altercation.

The school was on lockdown for more than two hours: no one was allowed to enter the building and students could not move around inside the building.

Most high school students were held in the cafeteria from their lunch period to the end of the school day at 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday’s clash stemmed from a neighborhood fight more than a month ago between the students. Both students, their parents and Arlington staff meet after that in an attempt to keep tempers cool inside the building, Dinkins said.

On Tuesday, Dinkins, said there was a "breaking point" in the fued that lead to the student contacting her mother to come to the school. 

A review of security procedures and how the building’s public entrance doors open and close would be conducted, Principal Stan Law said.

In August an adult entered the building by walking through a door near the gym with a group of Arllington students who were outside. The 19-year-old then attacked a student. 

Law said securing the building against someone from the outside who is bent on hurting a student or causing havoc is difficult. 

No one had a reason to believe, he said, that the parent who forced her way into the school was at Arlington for anything other than normal business like many times before. 

“They had an intent,” Law said about the Tuesday incident. “And it is was one of those situations where no one knows the heart of man. They had an intent to seek to solve an issue with violence … they almost carried it out if not for our staff.”

Arlington parents were to be notified by Tuesday evening about the incident and the use of mace.

Despite all that took place, Arlington’s top staff said they were pleased with the response.

“When the community comes into the building and you have to create a safe environment -- it really could not have gone any better,” Dinkins told teachers and other staff in a meeting after school.

All afterschool activities except boy’s basketball practice were cancelled. The Golden Knights won the Central Indiana Sectional 59 last weekend and play Bloomfield in the Class 1A regionals this Saturday at Martinsville High School.

Contact WFYI education reporter Eric Weddle at eweddle@wfyi.org or call (317) 614-0470. Follow on Twitter: @ericweddle.

 

 

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