School security beefed up after fights

October 21, 2008 3:26:44 PM PDT
High school officials in Hempstead are beefing up security after two consecutive days of fighting forced them to close schools early.No injuries have been reported in either of the incidents, but hundreds of students reportedly poured out of the school Monday afternoon.

Hempstead District Superintendent Joseph Laria told Newsday that some students were separated by their racial or ethnic affiliation in response to "a report that there was possible ill will growing between some of the students who were African-American and some of the students that were Latino."

School officials believe the most recent incident was connected to the fight Friday, which was reportedly between a black student and a Latino student.

The fight escalated, with others joining in. Officials canceled the homecoming weekend pep rally dismissed students early.

They believe no more than 15 students were involved in Monday's fight.

"This is not a schoolwide problem," Laria told Newsday. "The vast majority of those children in that school are good and decent children and they don't come there to fight."

As many as 10 police officers are patrolling the school Tuesday, according to police Chief Joseph Wing.

"We want to assure the parents that we're going to be there looking after the kids," he told the newspaper. "I'm expecting that the school officials will be able to maintain discipline within the high school."

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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