Emergency personnel brings an injured person out on a stretcher after a fight brought ambulances and police to the South High School in Minneapolis on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. The school is on lockdown after a food fight got out of hand and turned into a real fight. Minneapolis police were called after the fight broke out during third-period lunch around 12:45 p.m. Thursday. The fight lasted 15 minutes. The school says staff members responded immediately and took security steps. Teaching continues as usual during the lockdown, but students will remain in their classrooms during class. South will remain on lockdown until further notice.(AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Richard Sennott) MANDATORY CREDIT; ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS OUT; MAGS OUT; TWIN CITIES TV OUT
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A food fight quickly turned into a brawl involving hundreds of students at a Minneapolis high school on Thursday, forcing police to use chemical spray to break up the melee.
Four people were taken to hospitals with minor injuries, including a staff member who was hit in the head with a bottle, according to the school and police.
The 15-minute fracas broke out during lunchtime at South High School. No weapons were used, but about 200 to 300 students were involved, Minneapolis police spokesman Sgt. Bill Palmer said.
Students were throwing food, plates, pop bottles — "anything they could get their hands on" — at school staff and police, Palmer said.
A dozen officers responded to the scene and used chemical spray to break up the fight, he added. School officials said police used chemical spray in the air above the crowd, though several students complained of the spray's effects.
Student Council President Connor Bass told the Star Tribune that the scene was "chaos," with five or six fights going on simultaneously.
"When the cops came and started spraying Mace it was just pandemonium with people trying to run away," Bass said.
No arrests were made, but police plan to review surveillance video, which may lead to charges, Palmer said.
The school was put on lockdown after the fight, and the policy will remain in place Friday, school officials said. That means students will to stay in their classrooms during class and access to the building will be limited. Counselors also will be on hand.
The school, which has about 2,000 students, dismissed at the regular time Thursday, and afternoon athletics went ahead as scheduled.