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ESJH increases officer presence after ‘senseless fighting’

RESERVE — Law enforcement, school and central office staff are working to increase security on the East St. John High School campus following a bout of violence and security threats that has necessitated increased response in the opening weeks of this school year.

“This type of behavior will not be tolerated,” St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools Superintendent Kevin George said Monday. “We have worked with the sheriff’s department and school administration to increase officer presence on campus while simultaneously reviewing all of our security protocols to eliminate fighting on the campus of East St. John High School.

“This senseless fighting will cease immediately.”

According to the St. John Sheriff’s Office, 11 students at East St. John High were charged after a fight broke out in the school cafeteria on Thursday.

Deputies responded to the Reserve campus at approximately 7:15 a.m. to a group fight.

“Deputies observed several students fighting in the cafeteria and stopped the fight,” a Sheriff’s Office release said. “Through video surveillance, school officials identified 11 juveniles involved in the brawl. Ten juveniles were issued a misdemeanor summons for disturbing the peace by fighting. A computer search showed a 15-year-old juvenile involved in the fight had an active warrant for disturbing the peace by fighting.”

The 15-year-old was arrested, and police said a pair of brass knuckles was found in the juvenile’s front pants pocket.

Police said an investigation determined the fight stemmed from an ongoing dispute between the 15-year-old student and others involved in the disturbance. The outstanding warrant for the student had direct ties to this incident.

The juvenile was charged with disturbing the peace – engaging in a fistic encounter (misdemeanor) and carrying a firearm or dangerous weapon by a student on school property (felony).

He was released to the custody of his mother the same day, police said.

The Sept. 6 brawl followed the arrest of a student Aug. 31, who police said was found with a stolen firearm on the East St. John High campus.

In that incident, a 16-year-old LaPlace male was arrested at approximately 7:30 a.m. Police said the teenager was released from custody to his father.

According to George, school personnel reacted quickly when discovering the potential threat and had the student and campus secured by 7:30 a.m.

The ESJH school day starts at 7:10 a.m.