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TUSD superintendent: ‘I hold this parent responsible’ for large fight at Tucson High

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: May. 5, 2022 at 1:06 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - New details are emerging about how a large fight at Tucson High School started Tuesday, May 3, during lunch.

The situation ended with a parent and a student under arrest.

Tucson Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo said Wednesday’s lunch was peaceful and said inside the school, extra security was in place just in case.

He said the fight stemmed from an issue between two students and escalated when a parent stepped in.

“The catalyst and the main driver that triggered this level of campus violence was a decision by one of Tucson High’s parents,” Trujillo said.

Tucson police said the parent has been identified as 40-year-old Willie Smith.

So, what led up to Smith allegedly attacking a student at the school? Trujillo said there was a conflict between two students on Monday. The situation led to posts on social media that evening.

“The conflict with two students is a relationship with a significant other who had relationships with both students,” said Trujillo.

He said that conflict escalated Tuesday morning, and high school staff isolated those two students and called their parents to pick them up from school.

“Classic tale of two young men passionate, enraged, jealous, going after each other over the affections of someone else,” Trujillo said.

Both parents arrived, but Smith allegedly decided to take matters into his own hands.

“It was during this invitation for these parents to come onto the campus to pick up their students in a responsible fashion to deescalate an already volatile situation that this parent made the decision to escalate the situation and not only escalate it, but to take advantage of the access he had to the campus as a parent of the currently enrolled student, run out onto the courtyard and physically attack another student,” Trujillo said. “I hold this parent responsible for the level of violence that we saw yesterday at Tucson High.” Video has been circulating on social media which shows students engaging in a large fight.

Smith was arrested and booked for a felony charge of disrupting an educational institution. A 15-year-old male student was also arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

TPD said, no weapons were brought onto campus and no injuries or medical transports were reported.

Trujillo said the district not going to stand for parents putting hands on students.

TUSD is also discussing if any disciplinary action toward the student who was arrested will take place.

Trujillo said other students seen fighting in the video might face disciplinary action as well.

TPD said the investigation is ongoing.

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