Another Fight Involving Pepper Spray at Lawrence Central High School
Superintendent decries "false reports", though her statement has limited information about two fights in two days
Lawrence Township Schools has added additional security officers at Lawrence Central High School after a second fight involving pepper spray in as many days.
In a statement emailed to parents, School Superintendent Concetta Raimondi called Thursday's incident "minor", and characterized it as less of an event that what took place yesterday. Raimondi's statement says a small amount of pepper spray was released, and says students in the part of the building that was affected were taken to the gyn until the vapor dissipated.
Raimondi later sent a statement to news media saying Wednesday's fight sent 13 students to the hospital with breathing problems, though all were treated and released. She says two students were arrested and will be recommended for expulsion. Thursday's fight sent one person to the hospital, while eight were treated by the school nurse. No arrests were reported in connection with the second fight.
Raimondi's statement to parents was critical of what she called "false reports and speculation" on social media. However, Raimondi and other school district employees were unavailable for comment all day Wednesday and did not issue any statements until two hours after the second fight occurred on Thursday. Raimondi's statement to parents says the district is looking at all messages that were distributed on social media and are conducting "appropriate investigations" for each.
The Lawrence Township School Board held an emergency closed meeting to discuss adding security measures at the high school, and school district spokeswoman Mary Louise Bewley says additional officers will be on campus for the forseeable future. Bewley says the high school normally has four officers on campus, with the work typically split between the Lawrence Police Department and the Indianapolis Metropolitian Police Department.
Statement from Lawrence Township Schools to parents:
Hello Lawrence Township Families,
This is Concetta Raimondi, Superintendent of Lawrence Township Schools. I wanted to make you aware we had another incident at Lawrence Central today. Although similar in nature to yesterday’s occurrence, today’s event was minor. A small amount of pepper spray or similar substance was released. Students in that area of the building were taken to the gymnasium until the vapor dissipated. I also wanted to take this opportunity to make you aware that in the aftermath of yesterday’s incident at Lawrence Central we have added additional security officers at the high school and are monitoring activities on all of our school campuses. Sadly, false reports and speculation about what might yet occur on our campuses are beginning to circulate on social media. Clearly, this inaccurate information is causing great concern among the students and parents who are receiving the tweets and e-mails. Be assured, we are scrutinizing all messages being distributed on social media and are conducting appropriate investigations for each. We take the responsibility of providing a safe and secure environment for our children seriously and have already taken measures that have resulted in the arrest of those involved yesterday. Students involved in the incident yesterday will be prosecuted and recommended for expulsion. We wish to assure you we will use every resource at our disposal to protect our children.
Thank you for your attention to this important message.