The brawl at Haverhill High School ends with a student being arrested; The school committee organizes an emergency meeting

April 1—HAVERHILL — The school board is planning to hold an emergency meeting Monday night specifically to discuss an incident at Haverhill High School Thursday during lunch when two female students got into a fight and one was arrested by police.

School officials said one of the students was scratched in the face by the other student’s fingernail. They did not give further details.

Police Spokesperson Dep. Stephen Doherty said that because the incident involves underage students, no further information is being released.

School committee vice-president Toni Sapienza-Donais said she called the meeting with the support of other committee members. The meeting takes place at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers and is open to the public in person or remotely.

“We hope the administration of Haverhill High will tell us what protocols they will put in place or what resources they need from us to prevent further fighting,” she said. “The videos and photos that have been forwarded to me by concerned parents are disturbing and do not reflect the image we want Haverhill High School to have. This needs to be addressed immediately.”

Donais said what was also disturbing to see were the dozens of other students who appeared to be on tables and jumping up and down, cheering.

“It was very upsetting to see that many students wanted to see the fight continue, while removing their hoodies so they wouldn’t be identified,” she said.

A video recording of the 11:30 a.m. fight was posted on social media. It shows a large crowd of students, some of whom are shouting, watching two peers involved in a fight. The video also captures the image of a knife on the cafeteria floor and two adults intervening.

At around 1 p.m. Thursday, high school principal Jason Meland wrote to parents and posted on social media that there had been an incident during the first lunch. High school administrators and the Haverhill Police Department responded immediately.

“The student in question was fired by Haverhill Police,” Meland told the parents.

Meland also said the situation was under control and the students were safe. He didn’t provide the parents with any details about the fight, but said he would update them soon.

Students attended their scheduled classes for the rest of the day and hall passes were limited. Meland said any student in the hallway without a pass would be escorted to the auditorium, parents or guardians contacted, and the student sent home.

On Thursday morning, Meland had informed staff members that due to an understaffed security team, additional adults would be on campus during the day and for the next few days for hallway support. He told staff to expect to see members of the school management team and police circulating throughout the building. They would be there to support students and staff, he said.