Education

Two Anchorage schools placed in stay-put mode after fight involving 20 to 30 students, district says

Anchorage’s West High School and nearby Romig Middle School were placed in stay-put mode for several hours on Monday after a fight broke out at the high school involving 20 to 30 students, officials said.

A number of students have been suspended or arrested following the incident, according to an email West High Principal Sven Gustafson sent to parents Monday evening. Gustafson did not say how many students had been arrested in the email.

Rumors that weapons were involved in the incident are “NOT TRUE,” Gustafson said.

There were no serious injuries or hospitalizations, but students not involved were placed in stay-put mode in their fourth-period classes, said Anchorage School District spokeswoman Lisa Miller.

There were minor injuries, but it was not clear exactly how many, she said.

The fight broke out during lunch hour, and Miller said it was not immediately clear why it started.

In his email to parents, Gustafson described “multiple altercations” that began in the cafeteria and then “flowed out into the hallway.”

“I was right in the middle when this started. Security and administration were in the lunchroom seconds before this happened,” Gustafson said.

The school resource officer “was right there as well,” and the officer “called for additional officers to assist, who arrived within a minute,” Gustafson said.

In addition to school resource officers and additional police onsite Monday afternoon, Miller said medical technicians were also at the school as a precaution.

Stay-put mode is less serious than a lockdown, Miller said, and can happen “for multiple reasons, from a moose outside to an injury where we need to clear the way for medical personnel.”

After-school activities that normally take place inside West High School were canceled Monday, Miller said, but activities at Romig Middle School proceeded as normal.

Gustafson said the school will still have additional school resource officers and district staff on campus on Tuesday “along with other precautions to keep us all safe.”

“I know that today was disturbing for many of our students and staff,” Gustafson said. “This behavior is NOT acceptable at West High School and WILL NOT be tolerated.”

Nearly 750 students attend Romig Middle School and nearly 1,800 attend West High School.

Superintendent Deena Bishop said earlier this year that physical altercations and behavioral issues have risen as students returned to classrooms after pandemic restrictions.

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