Nova Scotia

Cole Harbour high school closed following brawl

A Halifax-area high school is closed on Monday after a brawl on Friday that ended with 14 students arrested, including four for assaulting police.

A Halifax-area high school is closed on Monday after a brawl on Friday that ended with 14 students arrested, including four for assaulting police.

A fight between two students at Auburn Drive High School in Cole Harbour escalated after someone pulled a fire alarm, forcing everyone out onto a field. More than a dozen students ended up in a brawl.

When the first police officers arrived, they found about 1,000 students outside, many straining to watch the fight.

"When you get a student body of over 1,100 people and 14 to 15 kids are involved, it's a very minimum number of students actually involved. But a lot of students were there just watching," said RCMP Cpl. Joe Taplin.

Both RCMP and Halifax Regional Police were called in to break up the brawl. The RCMP said two officers were assaulted in the process.

Doug Hadley, spokesman for the Halifax Regional School Board, said school staff will spend Monday looking for ways to ensure students and teachers are safe when the school reopens, and how best to deal with tensions among students.

Hadley said the board also wants to look at the police response and how students reacted to it once they were outside the school.

"We had a couple of fights involving students, but the main disturbance was a number of students reacting to the police," Hadley said.

"We have to, in some way, separate the two because the actions of the students don't appear to be negative toward each other as much as there was a very negative reaction to police when police arrived."

Four students — two girls and two boys — face charges of assaulting police officers. The other 10 face charges of causing a disturbance or breach of the peace.

Taplin said officers handled the incident properly by calling in enough backup to ensure the responding officers, students and staff were all safe.

"If there's a huge melee taking place, like 1,100 students, that's an officer safety issue as well as a student safety issue. So backup is called immediately," said Taplin.

Taplin said investigators are reviewing security tapes from the school to determine what happened.

He said they have not yet confirmed the cause of Friday's fights.