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School Disputes Claims of Near-Riot
02/19/10 10:03 am   |   reporter: Dennis Owens   producer: Myles Snyder
abc27 News - School Disputes Claims of Near-Riot
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Harrisburg, Pa. - Last week's snow storm left thousands of kids at home with little to do. Police say a handful of Central Dauphin East High School girls got into an online argument on the social networking website that culminated when they returned to school with a fight in a main hallway.

"It was packed with kids and it was chaos," Lower Paxton police Lt. Gary Seefeldt said.

CD East faculty responded quickly to what police are calling a near riot. The seven primary fighters - three 14-year-olds, three 15-year-olds, and a 16-year-old - face felony riot charges.

"It was vicious. They continued to try to fight even when being restrained," Seefeldt said. "The intent was there to hurt somebody. That's why you fight, you fight to hurt somebody."

Police say a hundred students watched or cheered on the fighters, but district spokeswoman Shannon Leib - who viewed a surveillance tape of the incident - disagrees that it was a riot. She says the incident happened during a change of periods in a heavily trafficked area of the school.

"When you hear a riot, one thinks of tear gas and bombs and smoke and helicopters landing. It was nowhere near that," Leid said. "As teens often do when there is a disturbance, they stop to watch to see what's going to happen."

A number of local school fights have recently turned up on the YouTube website and they almost always involve girls fighting girls. Officials see the trend, but don't know what to make of it.

"When I was a kid, girls didn't fight." Seefeldt said. "They do now."

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