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Four students arrested in large fight at Clemente High School

The call was made shortly after 12:30 p.m. Friday at the campus at 1147 N. Western Ave.

Police officers walk outside Roberto Clemente Community Academy in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood, Friday afternoon, Nov. 19, 2021, after police were called for backup in response to fights in the school.
Police officers walk outside Roberto Clemente Community Academy in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood, Friday afternoon, Nov. 19, 2021, after police were called for backup in response to fights in the school.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Four students were arrested Friday afternoon during a large fight at Roberto Clemente Community Academy, capping a week of fights on the Ukrainian Village school campus.

A Chicago police officer called for backup shortly after 12:30 p.m. for a “large scale physical altercation” at the campus at 1147 N. Western Ave., according to police.

Four officers suffered minor injuries in the scuffle and one student had a panic attack, police and fire officials said. Four juveniles were arrested, but charges haven’t been filed, police said.

“While the initial incident was small, many students did leave their classrooms to try to witness the situation and the school then went on a lockdown,” Clemente Principal Sergio Mojica wrote in a letter to families. “We are handling these incidents in accordance with CPS policy, and the parents of all impacted students have been contacted.”

Several students said there were other fights at the school earlier in the week and that Friday’s fights were likely related. The latest scuffle apparently began when a group entered a classroom, pulled out a student, and attacked them in the hall.

One student said she was on the top floor of the school and saw a fight break out, sparking some students to pour out of their classrooms and into the hallways.

“It was a fight. It was mob action,” said senior Keishaliz López. “The whole school just went crazy after that.”

She wandered the halls looking for her sister when she saw officers responding to the school. She claimed officers “man-handled” her while she walked through the school.

“Mind you, I’m very much skinny. I got marks all over my arms. I was mad,” López said. “I was getting upset because why are you touching me like that when I’m all calm, not a danger to nobody... I was confused, I was mad, I was crying. I was more scared of the cops than the fight.”

She said she is considering transferring from the school.

As parents waited outside, one man approached an officer and accused him of hitting his son in the back of the head with a baton while trying to break up the fights.

He demanded the officer's name and badge number.

“You put your hands on my son,” the man yelled as he followed the officer to a squad car.

Other parents made similar claims, denouncing officers for allegedly using too much force against the students.

More than a dozen police cars could be seen outside the high school. Crumpled sheets of paper and pencils littered the ground. Students leaned out of the school’s open windows.

One parent standing outside said he heard about the fighting and came to pick up his child, but was told students were being kept inside. Around a dozen other parents stood outside near the doors and courtyard, waiting to see when their children would be released.

Students were eventually let out of school around 3 p.m.

Several police cars were parked outside Clemente High School Friday afternoon after police called for backup at the school.
Several police cars were parked outside Clemente High School Friday afternoon after police called for backup at the school.
Manny Camarillo/Sun-Times