Fight breaks out during class change; 8 arrested

Chris Thelen/Staff
A Richmond County Board of Education public safety officer and Richmond County sheriff's deputies stand outside the Academy of Richmond County after a fight involving students.

School officials said Thursday they're still trying to find out what happened when a late afternoon hallway disturbance at the Academy of Richmond County erupted into a series of fights involving up to 50 people, calls for help to the sheriff's office and the arrests of at least eight students.

Six students began to fight during class change, according to a statement released by School Superintendent Dana Bedden. That grew as a crowd surrounding the fight was drawn into it, he said. The crowd grew so large that law enforcement officers said it appeared hundreds of students were in the hallway, making it difficult to move.

Dr. Bedden said four juveniles and four students 17 and older were charged with disorderly conduct. Police said more students might be charged.

Richmond County jail records show that Taurean Cammack, of the 4100 block of Foreman Way in Hephzibah; Jessie Demetrius Shelley, of the 1800 block of Greene Street, and Linzey Rashawn Abney, of the 700 block of Eve Street, were among those arrested.

Julia Porter-Stein, school board director of public safety, said the incident remains under investigation and many details are unclear.

Senior Brianna Mack, a member of The Augusta Chronicle Teen Board, said the fight broke out after a fashion show held in the school's auditorium.

Rowdy music was playing and students began yelling the year of their graduating class, she said. Some students from the Harrisburg community started flashing neighborhood gestures or "signs." She said about 400 people were in the auditorium and about 100 people were involved in the altercation in the hallway.

Patricia Asmundson, an active ARC parent, said Thursday it was obvious to her daughter, who has attended the school for four years, that several people in the overcrowded auditorium weren't students.

A teacher asked anyone who wasn't a student to leave, however, no one did, Ms. Asmundson said in a telephone interview.

The fight occurred after the show was over and students were changing class in the hallway, she said. Her younger daughter, a sophomore, told her the incident was loud and out of control. Some students ran across the parking lot to get away, she said.

Richmond County sheriff's Sgt. Darrell Wright said his units were called to the school to help.

"We were mainly just there to make sure everything was OK," said Sgt. Wright, who estimated that about 50 people were involved.

No one appeared injured by the fight, but Dr. Bedden said a female student suffered an asthma attack and was transported to the hospital.

Staff Writer Sarah Day Owen contributed to this report.