Adults pull hair, throw punches at AHS graduation
[Editor's note: Updated at 2:17 p.m. with the name of one of the adults allegedly involved in the fistfight. This incident is now getting national attention; a link to a local story about it is featured on the Drudge Report's website.]
Adults brawling in the audience disrupted the Arlington High School graduation Tuesday night at Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova.
One of the fighters reportedly was Amanda Murphy, originally of Frayser and now an Oakland resident. Her Facebook page showed a photo of her leaving to attend her first child's graduation Tuesday night, followed by two later posts.
The first, posted around 1 a.m. after graduation, said, "Sorry not sorry."
The second, posted about half an hour ago, contained expletives (omitted here), stating, "Mood=F___ them and f___ you ... #no regrets."
Multiple videos of the fist-flying incident show that, while students were entering and strains of the age-old graduation favorite "Pomp and Circumstance" were playing in the background, the occasion devolved into a melee between just a few people with nearby onlookers trying to restrain those who clashed. Although not yet confirmed, speculation is that the fight may have arisen from disputes over saved seats.
The situation went from irritation to hot words and then to shoves, swearing, hair snatching, water-pouring and even thrown punches. Church security contained the scuffle and escorted the offenders away.
No arrests have been reported in the case to date. A spokesman for Bellevue Baptist Church said today that the security personnel working at graduation were contracted by the school for the event.
School district Superintendent Tammy Mason responded with a prepared statement Wednesday morning. "Last night we celebrated 500 students who graduated from Arlington High School. This year’s class earned over $30,600,000 in college scholarships. It was unfortunate that a couple of adults in the audience exhibited the behavior they did prior to the ceremony beginning and thus has caused a distraction from the celebration of our students’ accomplishments."
She continued, "The graduation ceremony was not affected by this incident due to the actions of Bellevue’s security team, who promptly removed the adults from the ceremony. It is our hope that the focus will shift to our students and their accomplishments instead of the poor decisions by adults in attendance. Congratulations to our 2017 graduates of Arlington High School."