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Students, parents worried about safety after fight at Portland High School caught on camera | #schoolsaftey

PORTLAND (WGME) — A fight at Portland High School has some students worried about their own safety.

It happened during a lunch period last week.

Video shows a student with a shiny object in his hand, but the school’s principal told parents no weapons were used.

The school district says one student pulled out a utility tool, but it was not opened during the incident.

However, school officials say it is considered a weapon and is treated as such by school policies.

Parents say they’re concerned about not only the fight, but the way school officials seem to be downplaying the incident.

Images of the fight during a lunch period at Portland High School were taken by a student and have been viewed online nearly 10,000 times.

The principal says it started when one student shouted foul language to another.

Students who witnessed the fight, and parents who saw the video, say it looks like one student chased another student with an unopened pocketknife in his hand.

“I was disturbed,” parent Mony Hang said. “The kid did pull out something, and you could see that it was silver. I’m very concerned. I’m very scared for my kids.”

Hang is equally concerned about the response from Portland High School Principal Sheila Jepson, who told parents Monday in an email, “There were rumors that a weapon was involved. There was no weapon used on any student during this conflict.”

Jepson also told parents, “We asked classrooms to hold students prior to dismissing for lunchtime,” but says, “We did not have a lockdown.”

“It wasn’t like just an altercation. Right? We’re talking a brawl,” Hang said. “We’re talking weapons were taken out. And there were witnesses who saw the weapon. And yet, our school system thinks that it’s better to downplay the situation and make it sound like nothing really took place.”

Jepson told CBS13, “No comment.”

She sent the email to parents four days after the fight took place.

She says, “Several students took video of the altercation and then posted the video, [which] continues to create commotion and fear.”

“In the video, you saw one teacher trying to break up the fight,” Hang said. “But that was it. And it was a big brawl.”

In the wake of the response to George Floyd’s death, the Portland School Board voted three years ago to remove its school resource officers.

“Big mistake. Big, big mistake,” Hang said. “It was such a big mistake when they made that decision that my wife decided to run for school board. I think it’s important for the public to know, ‘What are you doing to keep our kids safe?’”

School administrators told CBS13, “Portland High School takes safety seriously and is committed to working on resolving conflicts to ensure the safe atmosphere that all students deserve.”

The principal says those aggressively involved in the fight were suspended.

Portland police know about the fight and are investigating.

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