Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Threat of violence
paralyzes Radford

A student confrontation keeps the
high school locked down for hours

Radford High School officials confined students to their classrooms for several hours yesterday after a confrontation between two student factions threatened to boil over.

The school plans extra security for at least the next two days because of the fighting.

School officials had been anticipating trouble after a violent confrontation between students Saturday night following a basketball game at the school.

One group of students and past graduates attacked another group of current students, said Vice Principal Bob Frey. At least one of those attacked suffered a black eye.

Before the start of school yesterday, the main instigators of the Saturday brawl were identified and told to stay home, Frey said.

However, the school beefed up security as a precaution. Off-duty police officers and unarmed military personnel were brought in, but scattered scuffles between students ensued after one of the weekend aggressors showed up on campus.

School officials said they were forced to implement a lock-down from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., when school is dismissed on Mondays.

"Things got out of hand, so we did what we had to do to ensure the safety of all our students," said Principal Robert Stevens.

Frey denied accusations by the parents of some military dependents that their kids were targeted by locals or that race was an issue. Some of the victims of Saturday's attack were black.

He said the group blamed for the aggression consisted of both locals and military dependents, while the other faction was made up primarily of the latter.

Located near Pearl Harbor and Hickam Air Force Base, Radford has a high percentage of students from military families.

Off-duty police and military personnel will be back today and tomorrow, possibly longer.

"We want to be prepared for anything," Stevens said.

Those believed to be at the center of the dispute also will not be allowed on campus until a school investigation determines what happened, officials said.

"The vast majority of the kids here are just here to learn, so it's very embarrassing for all of them that something like this should occur," Frey said.

Radford High School

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