Lunchtime brawl causes Hilo High lockdown

An on-campus melee involving several students during lunchtime recess resulted in a lockdown at Hilo High School and the arrest of a 15-year-old boy Tuesday afternoon, police said.

“We had a group of about five students that were involved in a fight, and the school resource officer that’s situated at Hilo Intermediate School saw the ruckus and the group gathering. By the time he got over there, the fight had been broken up by security,” said police Capt. Kenneth Quiocho, the Hilo Patrol Division commander.

“They were trying to get the students back into class when a 15-year-old decided to continue on with an unruly course of conduct, which led to him being arrested.”

Quiocho said the juvenile was charged with disorderly conduct and released to the custody of his guardian.

“Patrol officers responded after everything was broken up just to help the school resource officer with an investigation and interviewed several students,” he said. “The case is going to be routed to Family Court, and the school is taking appropriate administrative action against the students that created the disturbance.

“Because of the amount of people that were involved and the slow response of the students to get back to class, the principal made the decision to place the school on lockdown … while they restored some type of order there.”

State Department of Education spokesman Derek Inoshita said the lockdown occurred at about 12:50 p.m. as a safety precaution and was lifted at about 2:30 p.m., five minutes before school was dismissed for the day.

There were no reports of weapons, “just a fist fight,” he said.

According to Inoshita, the school will observe a normal schedule today.

Quiocho said no students sustained injuries that required medical attention, but added, “A vice principal and a 300-pound security guard were trying to break up the fight. The vice principal fell to the ground and the security guard tripped over her and landed on her.”

The vice principal was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where she was treated and released, Quiocho said.

Principal Robert Dircks posted a letter to parents on the Hilo High School website Tuesday afternoon.

“An investigation is underway and our staff is working directly with students involved, along with their parents, to address their differences in a constructive manner,” Dircks wrote. “We ask for your assistance to stop the spread of rumors on social media. We want you to have the facts so you can discuss them with your child and emphasize the seriousness of this issue. The safety of our students is a major priority and we are committed to providing a secure campus.

“I would like to commend our students, parents, teachers and staff for their cooperation.”

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