PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A total of 14 students were involved in three separate fights in the cafeteria of Zephyrhills High School on Tuesday.
According to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, three altercations co-occurred in the cafeteria and a hallway of the school around lunchtime.
School security and other staff members immediately stepped in, but due to the number of students involved, the intervention was reportedly challenging to de-escalate, as students continued to engage.
On Tuesday, an email was sent out to all parents of the high school that read, “Zephyrhills High School is currently on controlled camp[us out of an abundance of caution due to several fights on campus today. To be clear, there are no threats to the school.”
“An increased law enforcement presence will remain on campus for the remainder of the day,” the email continued. “We will release students at the end of the school day at 1:36 p.m.”
A controlled campus status was issued for Tuesday’s school dismissal to ensure the safety of the students.
“Let me be perfectly clear: behavior of this nature will not be tolerated in Pasco County Schools,” Superintendent Kurt Browning said. “Every student has the right to a safe and conducive learning environment, and we will take every necessary measure to ensure that this remains the case.”
On Wednesday, the district said all the students and staff involved in the incident are off campus. Additional officers were also placed around the school for the safety of the students.
The incident caused one parent to keep her student home on Wednesday.
“I had fear of retaliation, I don’t know if they’re going to bring weapons at school at this point because it was so bad yesterday,” Kori Speegle said.
Videos of the fights have circulated social media. One parent says the footage she saw was concerning.
“This was a massive amount of students attacking each other and then when your security, your teachers are now trying to help the situation, they too become victims themselves,” said Kuilani Hafoka Barreno, a ZHS parent.