4 students arrested after fight at Fenger High

December 2, 2009 2:37:33 PM PST
Chicago police responded to a fight at embattled Fenger High School on the South Side Wednesday.A large fight reportedly broke out around 8:30 a.m. at the school at 112th and South Wallace. Parents say the fight occurred between students from rival neighborhoods.

Two suspects were in custody. One was hauled away in handcuffs around 11 a.m. The two students went to the 22nd Police District station.

Police say the fight broke out on the third floor at the school. The security guards broke up the brawl, which was over by the time police arrived.

Police say two students were injured during the fight. One was transported to the hospital, the other suffered a shoulder injury but was not sent to the hospital. No one was seriously injured

Fenger and Chicago Public Schools have faced intense scrutiny since 16-year-old sophomore Derrion Albert was beaten to death Sept. 24. The fight was blamed on rival factions of students from the Altgeld Gardens neighborhood five miles away, and students who live in the Roseland area.

With a very noticeable police presence, Fenger High School students left school on Wednesday afternoon with no major problems. That was not the case on Wednesday morning when the fight broke out. Four students were arrested and suspended. All involved were suspended including sophomore Lavel Enis.

"We was on the third floor. It was guys rushed us. It was like five of us. It was like 20 guys rushed us. We get to fighting us, we get to fighting them back and then we get to running for our life. And then we was starting to fight them. And that's what happened," said Enis.

But Chicago Public School officials say only seven students were involved, the same seven that C.P.S. says have been involved in fights recently. Some of the kids had just returned from serving suspension.

Lavel Enis has attended the school for only five weeks. His mother transferred him out from a Catholic school for financial and grade reasons.

"The economy is bad. Money isn't right. So they got a free bus, busing the kids up here so I thought he would be safe up here because they got so much security up in here," said Rena Enis, mother.

Security at Fenger has been beefed up since the death of Albert. But CPS says extra security can't prevent every fight that breaks out.

Community organizer John Paul Jones is one of many in Roseland who are commited to improving Fenger and making it safer.

"This problem, this ongoing violence, it just upsets all of us and we have to find a way to fast-track improving the school. But we're going to need much more cooperation from the inside," said Jones.

Jones says he's in the process of trying to get a referendum on the February ballot that would open up Carver High School to the Altgeld Gardens students. Right now Carver is a military academy.


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