A wild lunchtime student brawl was caught on a cellphone video (below) on the campus of Sylmar High School in California on May 9.
Dozens of students took part in the fight, which some youngsters told KTLA was a continuation of tensions between black and Hispanic students that began over the preceding weekend during the school's prom celebration.
The school feared there might be trouble on May 9, and requested extra police officers on campus, but that was not enough to prevent the punching and kicking.
After police would stop one scuffle, another would spring up. At one point there were three separate fights going on simultaneously. There were also several instances of students ganging up on a single victim.
The LA Unified School Police said the fight included 40 students and went on for 20 minutes, reports KNBC.
Several students were bloodied and bruised, according to witnesses.
An unidentified female student told KNBC that some students were trying to back up a friend; she and other students were glad the melee wasn't worse.
Sylmar High School Principal James Lee sent an email to parents on the evening of May 9: "Multiple students participated in a conflict during lunch on campus. As a result, disciplinary actions have been taken, their parents have been contacted and the investigation continues," notes the Los Angeles Daily News.
LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King said in a statement on May 10: "As the head of the most diverse school district in the nation, let me be very clear: We will not tolerate targeting or violence of any kind on our campuses. We want to reassure parents that the safety of all students and staff remains our top priority."
King said there would be more school police officers, administrative and support staff on the campus on May 10, along with counselors to offer emotional support.
WARNING: Raw video with graphic violence