Hundreds of students brawl at Minn. high school

Police had to use chemical spray to break up a food fight that quickly escalated. Four people were hospitalized.

MINNEAPOLIS — A food fight quickly turned into a brawl involving hundreds of students at a Minneapolis high school on Thursday, forcing police to use chemical spray to break up the melee.

Four people were taken to hospitals with minor injuries, including a staff member who was hit in the head with a bottle, according to the school and police.

The 15-minute fracas broke out during lunchtime at South High School. No weapons were used, but about 200 to 300 students were involved, Minneapolis police spokesman Sgt. Bill Palmer said.

Students were throwing food, plates, pop bottles — "anything they could get their hands on" — at school staff and police, Palmer said.

A dozen officers responded to the scene and used chemical spray to break up the fight, he added. School officials said police used the spray in the air above the crowd, though several students complained about its effects.

Student Council President Connor Bass told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the scene was "chaos," with five or six fights going on simultaneously.

"When the cops came and started spraying Mace it was just pandemonium with people trying to run away," Bass said.

No arrests were made, but police plan to review surveillance video, which may lead to charges, Palmer said.

The school was put on lockdown after the fight, meaning students had to stay in their classrooms. The school dismissed at the regular time, and afternoon athletics went ahead as scheduled.

South High School has about 2,000 students in grades nine through 12.

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