Kindergarten brawl at graduation ceremony leads to multiple arrests

Posted at 6:39 PM, May 31, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-31 18:39:08-04

(CNN) — The words “kindergarten graduation” usually evoke images of tearful parents taking pictures of cute kids in pint-sized graduation caps and gowns.

But for students and parents at Michael R. White Elementary School in Cleveland, “kindergarten graduation” might now conjure images of “aggravated rioting.”

This, after eight individuals were arrested Friday morning after a fight near the end of the school’s graduation ceremony.

Cleveland kindergarten brawl

Officers were dispatched after receiving reports of gunfire, according to a statement from the Cleveland Police Department.

As it turned out, there was no gunfire or guns confiscated — but a hammer and a stick were taken as evidence. But people were going at it after an altercation between two teen girls apparently broke out, Detective Jennifer Ciaccia said.

“We assume they were there for the graduation ceremony,” she said. “Several adults then got involved.”

After the brawl was finally broken up, Cleveland police Tweeted:

Cleveland Police Commander Wayne Drummond was one of the first responding officers to the scene.

He told CNN affiliate WEWS that the initial feud prompted family members on both sides to get involved.

“It’s an absolute shame,” said Drummond. “That something as good as a graduation ceremony, a promotion ceremony, is marred by the actions of a few.”


Drummond said the school was put on lockdown to “make sure the kids were OK.”

Roseann Canfora, spokeswoman for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, said no students at Michael R. White Elementary were involved in the fight.

A hammer and a stick were taken as evidence, although neither was believed to be used in the fight.

Eight people were arrested on suspicion of aggravated rioting, police said.

Police say the incident will be further investigated.

Police issued the following statement after the fight:

“The Cleveland Division of Police Fifth District Detective Bureau is currently investigating an Aggravated Rioting incident which occurred on Friday, May 31, 2013 at approximately 11:00 am.  Officers responded to a call for shots fired inside of Michael R. White Elementary School located at 1000 East 92nd Street.  Upon arrival, officers observed a fight.  The preliminary investigation reveals that a fight broke out amongst two teenaged girls during a Kindergarten graduation ceremony and that several adults then became involved.  During the fight, NO shots were fired.  No guns were found or confiscated during the incident.  A hammer and a stick were taken as evidence; however neither object was used as a weapon during the fight.  Eight individuals were arrested for Aggravated Rioting.  This matter will be further investigated.”