Fourteen students at Overton High School in Nashville faced charges Tuesday after a massive fight broke out on campus.
Police said the brawl was between male students of Latino and Kurdish descent ranging in age from 14 to 19. There were no serious injuries.
Twelve juveniles were charged with disorderly conduct, with one also charged with resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer. The student put his hand on the officer’s holstered gun during the struggle, according to a spokesman with the Metro Nashville Police Department. All twelve were taken to juvenile detention.
Two adult students, 18-year-old Bayar Abdullah and 19-year-old Azad Abdullah, were charged with disorderly conducted and issued misdemeanor citations.
Located on Franklin Road north of Brentwood, Overton High School is one of the most diverse high schools in the South with hundreds of immigrant and refugee students.
The school was placed on lockdown around 11 a.m. because of the fight. WSMV News 4 reported that the fight broke out upstairs in one of the freshman hallways and bathrooms. According to WSMV:
A student told News 4 there is one hallway inside the school that is referred to as the “Kurdish hallway,” and another is referred to as the “Mexican hallway.” He said ethnic tension is what caused the fight.
“This year, the freshman decided to, mostly the Kurdish ones, go into territory with the Mexicans to try and call them names, to tell them about their situation about Donald Trump and them being illegal. It’s just them being stubborn mostly,” said Victor Minoza, a junior at the school.
“This is our wake-up call. The school year has been harder than any other. It’s crazy, to have a kid in school is like having my son on the front lines military,” said Veronica Zavaleta, a mother.
The police department’s gang unit is investigating, according to WSMV.
Metro Nashville Public Schools released a statement Tuesday evening saying:
It is unfortunate such an incident occurred on the last day prior to break. Principal Dr. Jill Pittman and her team will continue to work with staff to maintain a positive and safe school environment at Overton High School when school resumes. All students involved will be disciplined appropriately.
Next week, MNPS will have counselors proactively working with students as well as with community partners to identify and understand the challenges students may be dealing with in their communities that would result in today’s issues. The district is committed to providing a safe and secure learning environment for all students through its relationship with law enforcement and its various community partners.