A video surveillance tape of the Boardman High School cafeteria may show who threw the first punch in a cafeteria melee at Boardman High School on Thurs., Jan. 19 near noon.
The fight, that involved three white girls, including an 18-year-old sophomore, resulted in all three teenagers seeking hospital examinations, according to Boardman police reports.
One of the victims claimed while she was eating, several black high school students approached her and then threw food into her friend’s face. The video of the incident is said to be contrary to that claim, and could show students backing away from the girls who are said to be involved in the incident.
Later on Thursday, the dispute apparently spilled over to a Boardman Local School bus. The situation got so out of hand inside the bus, the driver called for police help “when it became unsafe to continue the route,” Ptl. Phil Merlo said.
A contingent of five Boardman police officers quelled the rowdiness on Meadowbrook Ave., near Market St. about 3:15 p.m. Two teenaged girls were arrested at the scene of the bus stop.
According to Ptl. Brian Cionni, Boardman High School student Zaquille Easterly, of 12 Southwoods Dr., a student at Boardman HS, said he was punched by Anderson “for no apparent reason.” Ptl. Cionni reported that Easterly told him he struck back”with his hand to defend himself.”
Easterly said he did not have any contact with any of the girls prior to the cafeteria incident.
Freshman Mary Tarr, 15, of 5318 Southern Blvd. told police that she and her friends “had been harassed all week,” apparently through on-going Twitter posts. Tarr said ‘black power’ gestures had been posted during Martin Luther King Day; and told police she had made a post on ‘Happy Nigger Day.’ The teenager claimed a group of black students had made several verbal comments, like ‘you white girls are going to get it.’
Tarr told Officer Cionni that her friend, Brittany Anderson, 17, of 146 Shadyside Dr., a sophomore, asked a group of students to leave ‘their’ lunch table and one of the students tossed food into Anderson’s face.
Tarr claimed that Anderson then stood up and was punched several times in the face and knocked to the ground.
Tarr said that she also had been punched in the face, “one time,” and when Brianne Wasson, 18, of 170 Beechwood Dr., also a sophomore, attempted to break-up the fight, she was elbowed in the face.
According to Tarr, school officials then intervened, Ptl. Cionni reported.
“Tarr did receive a broken right hand from this incident, and her right arm is in a medical sling,” Ptl. Cionni said.
Ptl. Cionni said he contacted Wasson and Anderson, at the Shadyside Dr. home and obtained written statements from both girls.
“No injuries were observed on Wasson, however she did state that her upper lip and nose were sore,” Ptl. Cionni said.
Anderson had “various bruises with redness and swelling” and complained of head pain, Ptl. Cionni said.
Easterly told police that he does not participate in any computer sites, and only knew Anderson because he has a brother who also attends BHS and he is in class with Anderson’s sister.
At 3:15 p.m., police went to the school bus and Ptl. Merlo said upon arriving there was confusion and students screaming at each other.
Police reported at least three students were involved in an argument on the school bus over the incident at Boardman High school earlier in the day.
Raijene Lewis, 16, of 6057 Applecrest Ct., #23, told Ptl. Paul Poulos she had been assaulted “because of where she chose to sit on the bus.”
Her story was similar to the bus driver’s, who told police a female student got out of her seat, walked over to Lewis “and began punching her for no apparent reason.’”
The bus driver also told police that Lewis “never once fought back, or even attempted to protect herself, that she just sat there and took it.”
While police were attempting to calm the situation on the school bus, one girl who was standing in the doorway of the bus “was asked several times to calm down and quit using profanity.”
She replied, “[Screw] you, I don’t have to listen to you, you can’t tell me [crap].”
The girl, 16-years-old, was again asked to move back on the bus and cease the profanity.
“I ain’t moving nowhere. You [m-fs] ain’t gonna tell me what to do,” she replied.
She was abruptly handcuffed and placed inside a cruiser, Officer Klingensmith said.
At this time another female, apparently inside the bus, erupted in similar behavior, and when police tried to handcuff the 17-year-old, a senior at BHS, she pulled away, yelping “[F-Y], I ain’t getting arrested for no [B-S].” She was taken to the ground and placed in cuffs.
Brianna Mendenhall, 16, and April Howell, 17, of 6053 Applecrest Ct., #32, were charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing official business. Howell was additionally charged with resisting arrest.