Brawl breaks out at high school graduation

A fight broke out at Arlington High School graduation Tuesday night, and the brawl was caught on video.

While Arlington High School graduates marched into Bellevue Baptist Church to cheers and high fives, a few family members were throwing punches a few rows away as a fight broke out during the graduation celebration.

The start of the graduation became a fist-throwing, hair-pulling, water-pouring, shoving fracas between people in the audience.

And, initial reports indicate the whole wild affair caught on video may have resulted from the age-old problem for any such big event -- saving seats.

"Last night we celebrated 500 students who graduated from Arlington High School," Tammy Mason, superintendent of the Arlington Community Schools, said in a statement Wednesday morning.  "This year’s class earned over $30,600,000 in college scholarships.  It was unfortunate that a couple of adults in the audience exhibited the behavior they did prior to the ceremony beginning and thus has caused a distraction from the celebration of our students’ accomplishments."

In the video, women on opposite ends of an row start arguing with each other. Several men are between the groups of women. Then, as "Pomp and Circumstance" plays melodically in the background, a fight erupts with pushing, cursing, shoving, punches. One woman grabbed another woman by the hair and threw haymakers at the woman's head. Several people try to break up the fight.

Near the end, one woman was handcuffed, but it is not immediately known if arrests were made.

The Shelby County Sheriff's Office said they did not respond to the fight, and that the church had its own security there.

Jim Barnwell, spokesman for Bellevue Baptist, referred all questions regarding the incident to the Arlington school district. "We just provide the building," Barnwell said.

"The graduation ceremony was not affected by this incident due to the actions of Bellevue’s security team who promptly removed the adults from the ceremony," Mason said in her statement. "It is our hope that the focus will shift to our students and their accomplishments instead of the poor decisions by adults in attendance."

© 2017 WBIR.COM


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