According to a witness, a male student sustained an injury to his head.
GDOE interim spokesperson Michelle Franquez, however, could confirm only that one male student was transported to the hospital.
A video circulating on social media showed the fights that broke out and showed tensions rising as students congregated in a hallway.
In the 1 minute, 8 second video, students could be heard saying “Just chill.” Another student is also heard saying to a male student, “You better not do anything.”
As the angle of the camera appears to focus on a group of students while tension grows, a student on the edge of the camera’s frame is sucker-punched by another student and then a riot ensues. As the student is being attacked, other students can be seen trying to break up the fight, which travels through the hallway.
It is unclear how many fights broke out Friday at the Southern High campus. And while no school aides can be seen in the video, Franquez, in a press release, said the administrative team and school staff were able to “de-escalate the situation.”
Guam Police Department officers and Guam Fire Department personnel responded to the incident.
This is not the first fight to break out since students returned from the holiday break. In fact, GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez issued a statement Friday afternoon in response to the fights at schools.
“I want to remind all families and students that violent activity will not be tolerated on school campuses. As we work on recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shut down schools and disrupted education for the past 18 months, schools should be safe places where our children can come back to learn and to be with their friends and teachers,” Fernandez said.
He also reminded students that there are consequences to participating in violent acts and instructed GDOE school administrators to take immediate action.
“I am instructing GDOE school administrators to take immediate disciplinary action with regard to any and all students who participate in, arrange, or instigate any violent acts at school or in connection with a school activity or event. Such disciplinary action, if merited, could include the establishment of disciplinary advisory committees to address an administrator’s recommendation to expel a student from school. Any student expelled from their school will not be allowed to attend any Guam Department of Education school during their period of expulsion,” Fernandez said.
He warned students who engage in violent behavior that he will stand by administrators should a student be recommended for expulsion and it is upheld in the disciplinary advisory committee process.
Fernandez encouraged all students to foster a positive learning environment by following the behavioral expectations set in schools. He said, “Our children and employees deserve a safe school environment.”
A letter was sent home to parents to reiterate GDOE’s zero tolerance policy toward violence in schools.