Brawl erupts during Tennessee high school graduation after a student throws up gang signs

News & Politics

A senior at a Tennessee high school apparently thought it was a good idea to hurl his diploma at another student as he was being escorted out of the graduation ceremony for throwing up gang signs, according to the New York Post. As a result, an on-stage fight ensued.

Hamilton High School was in the middle of celebrating the graduation of its seniors inside the Cannon Center in Memphis, Tennessee, on Thursday night when the fight broke out. Footage of the dispute has been shared across social media.

WREG reported that the incident stemmed from a prior incident with the two students. The student who started the fight threw up gang signs to one of his peers. As a result, a security guard witnessed the gesture and began ushering the student out of the ceremony.

‘Memphis has a huge problem, period. It’s a real problem with youth.’

However, as the student was being escorted from his seat, he could be seen throwing his graduation binder at another student seated in one of the back rows. Though the security guard grabbed the student who threw the binder, the student who was hit jumped over a row of chairs and pursued his attacker.

Reports noted that two other students ultimately got involved in the dispute, which prompted several security guards to jump in and break up the fight. The Post reported that one of the students was pepper sprayed by one of the security guards.

Though the ceremony was temporarily disrupted, one speaker used the sound system to say “[w]e are not going to stop our graduation. We are going to continue because this is the Wildcat way.”

Quita White, whose son graduated, said, “How do you fight at a graduation? It’s a time for celebration so why is everybody fighting? Why are you angry?”

As a result of the fight, all those involved were issued a Juvenile Summons or Misdemeanor Citation and soon released to their parents. Reports noted that one officer was injured during the dispute.

“He has a big bruise on his left eye, they broke his glasses, the front of his foot looks like it is fractured,” the wife of the injured worker said.

The woman, who has not been identified, blamed the school principal for ruining the other students’ graduation day.

“Knowing that this was the end of the school year, knowing that these kids were battling to get each other,” she said. “Now they were not in school. But they gave him a packet. ‘You guys can come and walk,’” the woman said.

The woman went on to say that she does not believe the students involved in the brawl should have been at the graduation at all.

White said, “Memphis has a huge problem, period. It’s a real problem with youth.”

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