6 Ballou students charged in brawl

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Six teenage girls are facing charges after brawling in a hallway at Ballou High School yesterday,, making it the second time in three days that fighting has broken out among students at the school in Southeast.

The three 16-year-olds, two 17-year-olds and a 15-year-old were charged with disorderly fighting after they were apprehended by a school resources officer, police said. No one was injured and police do not suspect the skirmish was gang-related.

“There is no clear motive for [yesterdays] fight, but it doesn’t look like it was related to [recent violence at the school],” said Sgt. Joe Gentile, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department. “At this point, it just looks like it was some girls fighting in the hallway.”

A lieutenant from the police department’s 7th District said anyone seen engaging in disorderly conduct at the school will be arrested.

The incident yesterday occurred despite increased security in the wake of a fight in the school cafeteria Monday involving more than a dozen students, some seen running from the school, while others were entering the building through windows.

Gang activity was initially thought to be the reason behind that altercation, but police Chief Charles H. Ramsey told WTTG-TV (Channel 5) yesterday morning that police have ruled it out.

After the skirmish Monday, an unconscious male teen was taken to Howard University Hospital in Northwest, and a female police offier went to Providence Hospital in Northeast for respiratory trouble. No arrests were made.

The fight began after one student said something to another in the cafeteria.

“Another kid — her boyfriend — didn’t like it and he got involved. And it became a fight, and then it became a free-for-all,” Capt. Julia Jones said.

School officials held an assembly yesterday morning and urged students to keep any gang involvement outside of the school. Officials also called a community meeting with parents last night to discuss recent incidents.

Students greeted requests from a reporter for comment with hostility and dismissal, appearing weary of the focus on the school.

“[The schools attitude] has changed since all the fights broke out, but I don’t feel unsafe,” said 10th-grader Keasha Williams, 16.

Ballou, at 3401 Fourth St. SE, only recently reopened after a student removed elemental mercury from an unlocked science classroom Oct. 2 and the toxic substance was spilled in various areas of the building. It took more than a month to decontaminate the building, and students attended classes at the old Convention Center in downtown and Hart Middle School at 601 Mississippi Ave. SE.

On Oct. 27, D.C. police arrested and charged a 16-year-old student with stealing the mercury. The student had shared the toxic substance with other students, who threw it at each other, then contaminated their homes and a Metrobus when traces of it got on their clothing and book bags.

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