It was a chaotic scene Monday morning at Craigmont High School, as students were taken out on stretchers, while firefighters and police were everywhere, and parents rushed to the school to check on the safety on their children. A total of 24 students were arrested after a fight between students over a girl spiraled out of control. Officers at the school were ultimately forced to use pepper spray to subdue angry students.
"Man, my chest was hurting," said student Rachael Kullman, who was exposed to the spray. "Everyone came up coughing and crying. One girl passed out in the hallway."
Students said there were three fights Monday in as many lunch periods. One of the fights escalated when a chair was thrown.
"Something inappropriate was said or done about somebody's sister, and that's how it started," said Memphis Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Vince Higgins.
Some students at the school said the fights were gang related. Officials said they were investigating that claim. Memphis City Schools spokesperson Renee Malone said fighting behavior won't be tolerated by the district.
"When executive staff has determined whichever students are responsible, they will not be allowed to come back to Craigmont High School," she said.
Parents at the scene said the quick escalation of the fight was cause for concern.
"This didn't happen to this extent last year," said parent Elaine Hall. "I will be thinking about moving my daughter out of this school."
Other than a thrown chair, no weapons were used in the fight. A total of three students were taken to The MED in non-critical condition, and one student was taken to Methodist North.