Pennsylvania school official says four students suspended after a violent brawl, defends officers involved

The superintendent of Hazelton Area High School says the officers who subdued students involved in the fracas were justified in their use of force


After a violent brawl at a high school in Hazeltown, Pa., upset many who watched video of officers becoming aggressive with several Black teens, the schools superintendent says four of the students involved have been suspended as an investigation continues, WNEP 16 reports.

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In the viral clip, a young woman at Hazeltown Area High School, is surrounded by what appears to be a group of security officers who are attempting to subdue her.

One officer punched the girl in the legs and kneecaps, then slammed her head onto a lunch table as two other men in red shirts pinned her arms.

The officer then aggressively grabbed her ponytail and held her down. As classmates tried to rush to her aid, the girl attempts to stand up, but the officer and a man in a red shirt twisted her arms behind her back.

When a faculty member intervened, the girl gained her footing and stood up. Meanwhile, classmates jumped on tables and benches to corner authorities to demand answers about the use of excessive force by multiple officers against one Black girl. The victim was escorted out of the frame, as the videographer scanned the room to show dozens of outraged students.

Superintendent Brian Uplinger defended the officers and told the local station News station WNEP 16 that the officers were trained to use force to de-escalate the brawl.

Uplinger also said there were three separate fights that they were trying to get a handle on.

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Students took to social media to share updates and their experience with faculty afterwards.

“Look how the cops whole demeanor changed when they all stood together,” wrote one viewer, referencing how the aggression on the video visibly dissipated once the victim’s classmates collectively stepped in.

Another classmate recalled a conversation that she allegedly had with the head of security on campus, stating, “Head of security at the high school, Chief Edward Henry told me that if I saw the entire video I would understand. I told him there was nothing he could show me that would justify the extent of force used against this woman!!”

This story is developing.

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