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Byline: By NICK SHARPE South Wales Echo

Around 80 pupils were sent home from a South Wales school after a lunchtime brawl spilled onto the street. Riot police were called in to try and bring the mob under control and three people were arrested. Police officers were then put on guard outside the entrance of Fitzalan High School, Cardiff, following the disturbance.

Headteacher John Hoole said a fight between youngsters had escalated, with pupils reacting like 'bees around a honey pot'.

And one resident on a street outside the school said: 'This wasn't just a small fight - I've never seen anything like it before.': FROM PAGE 2: LOCALS 'SCARED TO WALK STREETS':A disturbance involving around 80 pupils outside a city school has left local people scared to walk the streets. Residents say they had never seen anything like the chaos on Broad Road, Leckwith, Cardiff - and that they are tired of children from Fitzalan High School ruling the streets.

The lunchtime brawl - described as 'a horrendous stampede of children' by one local woman - is believed to have escalated after a fight between a few pupils spilled out onto the street.

At its height, police riot vans tried to control the mob and uniformed officers arrested three people - one former and two current pupils.

Around 80 pupils - girls and boys of all ages - were sent home from school after the fight, which happened on Monday.

They were told to take a letter home and not come back until a meeting had been held by school staff with the parents of every child affected.

'The staff reacted to the incident by calling in the police, and all of the parents have since been seen in the school,' said headteacher John Hoole, who took over as head this term after the retirement of Angus Dunphy.

'There were four people directly involved, but the other pupils were like bees around a honey pot.'

He added the 80 pupils were not officially suspended.

Police guarded the front and back gates of the school on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Shopkeeper Richard Singh, 21, who will not allow schoolchildren into his shop on Broad Street at lunchtime, says the fight started with a rush of children along the street.

'People have been scared to come onto the street since then,' he said.

'This wasn't just a small fight - I've never seen anything like it before.'

One pensioner said the fight was 'like something from the war'.

'The children were everywhere - there was no way we dared go onto the street,' she said.

Inspector Mal Lewis, of South Wales Police, said police received five calls reporting the disturbance.

He said: 'Three people were arrested, a former pupil and two pupils who currently attend Fitzalan High. No charges have been brought. The investigation is ongoing.': Anti-social outburst is major concern:Parents and governors of Fitzalan High said they supported the actions taken by the school. Canton councillor Ramesh Patel, 44, who is a school governor and has a daughter, Deena, 17, at Fitzalan, says that incidents of anti-social behaviour are raised at every meeting between local residents and the school.

'My concerns are for residents around that area,' he said.

And Peter Perkins, chairman of the board of governors, said: 'Whatever the incident is, you can't have violence on the school grounds and the action taken would have been to cool the situation down.'
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 23, 2004
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