A mass brawl at a high school in Germany, of which 81 percent of students come from a migrant background, left 49 staff members and fellow pupils injured, state police revealed on Tuesday.
The incident occurred at around 10:30 a.m. on Monday at the Campus Efeuweg Community School in the Neukölln district of Berlin.
According to German media, an argument broke out among a handful of boys around 14 years of age over a soccer match. One of those involved pulled out a can of pepper spray but injured himself in the process, causing another individual to grab the can and use it on other students sparking mayhem.
Two teachers attempted to intervene and break up the brawl but were attacked themselves and pepper-sprayed, according to Tagesspiegel. The 52-year-old headmistress also attempted to restore order but was also assaulted and needed treatment for a broken finger.
School staff alerted the police who attended the scene and tried to disperse the crowd, however, one officer was punched in the face by the older brother of one of those involved.
In total, 49 staff, police officers, and students sustained injuries during the chaos and several perpetrators are now under investigation for causing actual bodily harm.
The educational authority responsible for the management of the school has instructed a crisis team and psychologists to speak with students with Martin Klesmann, a spokesperson for the authority confirming on Tuesday that “appropriate measures” have been taken to ensure student welfare.
“We will continue to communicate to ensure the best possible support for the school,” he added.
According to Tagesspiegel, the facility is classed as a “focus school” due to its high proportion of students whose families receive social benefits. The school is also largely attended by students of a migration background with the number of pupils for which German is not their first language being recorded at 81.3 percent last year.
The school now requires an in-house security force to guard the classrooms and ensure law and order.
A mother of one of the pupils at the school told German media she was shaken by the attack and was anxious about keeping her child in school.
“All the children were sent home early. It’s terrifying. I’m afraid to send my child to school. I hope the incident has consequences,” she said.
One pupil, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said, “That’s what happens – it’s a hotspot school. In the first lesson, we were told not to talk to anyone.”
“The boys have often caused stress, beating each other three times before. The teachers intervened at the time, but couldn’t mediate. Nevertheless, I’m not afraid to go to school. I’m used to it,” another said.
“Two boys were fighting. My classmate tried to help but then got hurt himself. After that, all the lessons were canceled,” added a third.