Students and staff at Minneapolis South High School headed back to class Friday morning after a food fight escalated into a physical brawl involving hundreds of students Thursday.
According to the school, the fight began at about 12:45 p.m. and lasted 15 minutes while staff members responded. Minneapolis police also were called to the school after the two resource officers on campus were unable to contain the crowd.
The melee ultimately involved about 300 students and injured four people. Those injuries ranged from a twisted ankle to a staff member being hit in the head with a bottle Minneapolis police Sgt. William Palmer said the injuries the students suffered were not related to the fight.
"It sounded like it started in smaller groups and then it was one very large group of people pushing and shoving," Palmer said.
A SchoolMessenger call was made to parents on Thursday afternoon informing them of the incident.
"Fighting is not tolerated at our school or on school property," the school said in response to the incident via their website.
The school will remain on code yellow lockdown Friday, meaning students will have to stay in their classrooms during class periods and access to the building will be limited, but the school will operate on a normal schedule.
Minneapolis South administrators blame the incident on a food fight that got out of control, but others say it was ongoing tensions between Somali students and other students. The confrontation came to a boil just days after an article in the school paper about systemic discrimination.
"They're blaming a food fight, they're trying to cover it up," said South High junior Adnan Farah. "Don't cover up the story with a food fight. What does food have to do with this? This is a racial problem."
South High School is one of the most diverse in the city, with African American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American students. Somali students account for about 8 percent of the student body, but when it comes to racial tolerance, some say the school is anything but Minnesota nice.
"My daughter comes home and she tells me the things that go on at this school and she's scared," said Lynette Vizenor.
While the school has a new safety plan in place, there are no immediate plans to address the ongoing racial tensions the Somali students complained about.
No one was arrested, but police say they will study surveillance video to see if charges are warranted.
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