OAKLEY, Calif. (KRON) — Several fights broke out at Freedom High School in Oakley during a lunchbreak between classes on Thursday. “Most of these fights involved minor female high school students,” police stated.
“The actions of the student body members who chose to participate in today’s fighting activities are inexcusable and not tolerable,” Oakley Police Chief Paul Beard said Thursday.
Freedom High School has a School Resource Officer, Oakley Police Department Officer Scott Griggs, for security on campus. Griggs intervened when one girl challenged another girl to fight.
“Our SRO stepped between the two females in order to prevent conflict. The aggressor female student then turned her aggression towards our SRO. Our SRO prevented the female from charging the other female by grabbing her backpack,” police wrote.
Later, a brawl involving a “large group of students” broke out in the quad with several students fighting each other, police said. A large crowd gathered around the brawl and students recorded cellphone videos of the melee.
“Our SRO pushed his way through the crowd and made his way to the fight. Our SRO discovered the original female aggressor he previously dealt with (was) grabbing the hair of another female student while attempting to punch her,” OPD wrote.
By this time, more campus supervisors and school staff members also intervened and attempted to break up “various fights,” OPD wrote.
Griggs grabbed the original aggressive girl by her sweatshirt and arm, and forced her to the ground. The girl was still punching another female student even after Griggs grabbed her, according to police.
“The female aggressor released the other female and our SRO picked the aggressor up and walked her out of the area while controlling her arms,” OPD wrote.
Many students recorded videos of the melee and uploaded the footage onto social media. Police Chief Beard is urging students stop sharing the videos on social media.
“I am readily aware … there will be plenty of opportunities for (students) to post the videos to social media. I must ask however that people refrain from doing so in order to maintain the dignity of some of the students who appear to be victims of these fights,” Beard said.
More than 2,500 students grades 9-12 attend Freedom High School. The victims of Thursday’s violence are minors.
Some of the students involved in the fights are facing possible criminal charges, including battery and obstructing a law enforcement officer. A criminal report will be sent to the Contra Costa County juvenile probation department for recommendations on whether criminal charges will be filed.
Beard described the aggressive girl who was restrained by Griggs as a “female student combatant.” She did not suffer injuries, “other than emotional distress,” Beard said.
Some social media users who viewed videos of the fights questioned Griggs’ actions when he held the girl on the ground.
Beard said in response, “Officer Griggs relied on his defensive tactics training to diffuse this situation as safely as possible, for all concerned, and minimized the risk of injury for the female he was dealing with.”
Shortly after the fights were broken up, around 1:09 p.m., Freedom High School went into lockdown because someone reported hearing gunshots in the area of Brown Road and Neroly Avenue.
Police said officers found no correlation between the off-campus shooting and the violence on campus. “So far there is still no known correlation between the physical fights and the reported shots fired,” OPD wrote.