Parents concerned about security after massive brawl at Hawthorne HS

Security was extra tight at Hawthorne High School Thursday as students returned to class for the first time since a series of campus brawls broke out, resulting in three arrests.

Hawthorne police said the campus was calm today, with no more outbreaks of violence. Some parents, however, opted to keep their children at home in light of the brawls that involved anywhere from 200 to 300 students.

"We allowed them (parents) to take them off campus," Mike Ono, assistant superintendent of the Hawthorne Unified School District, told news media outlets. "I asked the students to make sure they emailed their teachers so they wouldn't miss the assignment."

Counselors were also on hand at the campus for students who had reservations about returning to campus following the fights, which were captured on cell phone video that was posted online.

The fights, which involved multiple groups of students, erupted at 12:40p.m. Tuesday, said Lt. Aimee Yoshida of the Hawthorne Police Department. One student was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

Video footage captured large crowds of students surrounding several groups fighting. One video shows two female students attacking each other.

Another video shows a male student picking up a trash can and throwing it toward a group of students.

Police and school officials were reviewing videos of the fight, along with footage from campus security cameras, to identify students involved.

According to media reports from the scene, roughly 30 students have already been suspended or expelled.

Some students indicated that racial tensions may have contributed to the fights, but it was still unclear what actually precipitated the melees. One student said as many as 30 different fights occurred on Tuesday.

Stepped-up security is expected to remain in place on the campus until at least the end of the month.

A meeting for parents was held at the school Wednesday night, and another is planned tonight. Some attendees said Wednesday night's meeting became so heated at times that it appeared some parents were ready to come to blows.

"Teachers are here to teach, not to babysit," parent Cecilia Hortado told news media outlets. "So if I can't handle my kid at home, this is what's going to happen."

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