One student was hospitalized and four more arrested after a “five-student brawl” erupted at Watkins Mill High School in Montgomery County. The two sixteen-year-olds and two seventeen-year-olds arrested by Montgomery County Police in connection with the incident were not identified because they are minors. At this time, it is not known whether the students who have been charged have been assigned or have retained Maryland criminal lawyers to face the second-degree assault counts with which all four have been charged.
Watkins Mill High School principal Scott Murphy said the fight was instigated by a “dirty look,” around 9:30 a.m. on December 1st. In a letter to parents, Murphy called the incident an “aberration of behaviors normally exhibited” by students of Watkins Mill High School, a point he underscored to press when speaking about the fight:
“Sometimes I get concerned when one isolated incident crowds the perception or reality of what is really going on here,” Murphy said. “The vast majority of our kids know to do the right thing- to talk to a trusted adult, or a parent or a school counselor.”
No weapons were drawn during the skirmish, and a surveillance camera reportedly recorded the incident. The fifth student involved in the altercation, an eighteen-year-old, was not immediately arrested, but police say charges are pending and that they plan to release his name.
Two of the five students involved in the altercation earlier this month were involved in a similar incident back in October, and Montgomery County Police spokeswoman Lucille Baur said that police are investigating whether the incident was gang-related. It was also reported that police were called to Watkins Mill High School 27 times during the 2009-2010 school year, for “serious incidents” including assaults, drugs or weapons on campus.