Racism against Somalis cited in Minn. school brawl

9:29 PM, Feb 15, 2013   |    comments
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By Michael Winter
USA TODAY

Somali-Americans blamed racial tensions for a Minneapolis high school cafeteria melee that began as a food fight and ended with police using chemical spray to break up a brawl involving more than 200 students.

Three students and one staff member at South High School were taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries. No weapons were used, police said.

Students threw food, plates and soda bottles at staff and police -- "anything they could get their hands on," police spokesman Sgt. William Palmer told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

The fight began about 12:45 p.m. CT and lasted 15 minutes. It was captured onvideo.

No arrests were made, but police were reviewing surveillance footage, and rioting and disorderly conduct charges could be filed, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.

Classes resumed Friday, but the school, which has about 2,200 students, remained on lockdown.

On Tuesday, the student newspaper carried an article in which Somali-American students said racial and ethnic tensions had grown this year.

"This school is not safe for Somali students," Adnan Farah, a junior, told the Star-Tribune. "Throughout this year, there have been a lot of fights."

A school district spokesman would not comment but said racism complaints are taken seriously.

USA Today

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