NewsHillsborough County


Parents frustrated after fights break out at Middleton High School, sending two students to the hospital

Posted at 2:45 PM, Sep 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-13 17:43:32-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Parents are frustrated after several fights broke out at Middleton High School on Thursday.

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Hillsborough County Public Schools told ABC Action News that the first fight took place as students were changing classes.

After administrators and the school resource officer broke up the fight, a couple of other fights broke out as well. The Tampa Police Department had to assist in breaking those fights up.

Police said an officer unintentionally discharged pepper spray while trying to break up the fights.

One student told ABC Action News, "dozens of students were hit with pepper spray, innocent students. Then a lockdown occurred and the students couldn't even go to the bathroom or anything to wash out their eyes. Some were even reportedly puking from the aftermath."

One student was arrested for battery on a law enforcement officer -- that's how a spokesperson for the department said the pepper spray was unintentionally discharged.

"It makes me feel like no student was safe," said Marcela Townsend.

The mother of two students said her kids go to the Magnet program at Middleton High School and one of them saw the blood after the fight.

"I don’t think any child should be exposed to that, if you’re raising them away from all this," she said.

Two students had to be transported to a local hospital following the fights; including one student who hit their head on a wall.

Hillsborough County Public Schools said Tampa PD arrested six students for fighting and causing a disruption on campus.

A spokesperson for the school district would not say what type of disciplinary actions they will take against the students.

"It was too much, it was a series of students kicking someone on the floor, that should not be accepted, I want the students involved expelled," she said.

The district confirms that school leaders are calling on community leaders to come together for a plan of action on how to help these children.

We're told that meeting will be out of the spotlight to talk about the issues with people who are involved in these children's lives.