GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio — Dozens of elementary and middle school students reported injuries when a food fight erupted Thursday afternoon and turned into a mealtime melee.
Garfield Heights Fire Chief Tom Nemetz says the fight broke out at Cranwood Elementary School — the temporary home for Miles School (K-8) — between students in grades fifth through eighth grade and resulted in “approximately 26 injuries.”
Chief Nemetz says the injuries ranged from head injuries to cuts and bruises, and one person reportedly suffered a broken wrist.
Five other cities responded with rescue squads to treat the students.
The school district says eight students had to be transported to local hospitals.
“We was in the cafeteria, and they just started throwing food out of nowhere, the eighth graders, and that’s when everything got out of control, and they were pushing me back and forth and things,” said student Dyshanea Scott.
“She fell and hurt her arm. I am taking her to the doctor’s now, because I don’t know if any muscle is torn or anything like that,” said Dyshanea’s mother, Diyona Scott.
A spokesperson for CMSD said parents were notified of the situation as soon as it happened, and that an investigation was underway.
However, parents dispute that claim. They say they were not notified of the fight or that any children were hurt.
Tange Douglas learned that her daughter was injured when she arrived at the school to pick up her son.
“My son called and said there was a food fight and he didn’t want to stay on the school premises and I came up here to get him and see my daughter going out the door on a stretcher,” said Tange Douglas.
Carletta Lester, 13, suffered head injuries after being hit with an orange and falling into a brick wall. A cat scan did not show any damage, but her mother is still taking her children out of the school.
“It’s off the hook, and it’s out of control here,” said Tange Douglas.
The father of a 5-year-old girl found out about the fight when he looked outside of his home and saw fire trucks and rescue squads parked in front of the building.
Alex Bailey said, “I didn’t get no phone call at all. In fact, if I had not happened to look down the street and see the fire trucks I would’ve had no idea.”
Thursday night, CMSD Deputy Chief Communications Officer Roseann Canfora released the following statement to Fox 8 News:
“The Cleveland Metropolitan School District is committed to providing a safe environment for our students and will not tolerate any behavior that jeopardizes their safety. We are also committed to providing accurate and information about any incident in our schools. To be clear: Eight were referred for examination following a food fight in the cafeteria today. Three of the 8 students required treatment before release.”
Canfora also said that the school principal will talk with all students in grades 5-8 about “safety, and the seriousness of such incidents.”
Canfora noted that additional security will also be at the school Friday while the incident remains under investigation.
This story was provided by WJW affiliate reporter Suzanne Stratford.