Seven juvenile Wheaton North High School students face mob action charges after prosecutors say they took part in a premeditated brawl that involved a pocketknife and socks filled with batteries and a can of green beans.
The students, all of whom were female, were in a hallway Tuesday morning near the cafeteria at the school when authorities allege a fight broke out. The DuPage County State’s Attorney’s office said authorities at the school tried to break up the fight before they were joined by police officers from Wheaton, Glen Ellyn and Carol Stream police departments, along with the DuPage County Sheriff’s office.
“This type of behavior does not represent the school culture that we are proud of at Wheaton North,” Wheaton North Principal Matt Biscan wrote in a letter to parents. “We will continue to work with all students to help guide them in their decision making. School, parents, and community can work together to make a positive impact on all our students.”
Biscan said “police responded with several vehicles to ensure the situation stayed under control.” Students and staff were told to remain in their classrooms as authorities investigated.
“The alleged actions against the students in this incident will absolutely not be tolerated,” State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said. “School safety continues to be a top priority of my administration and any incident that disrupts school safety or the ability of teachers to teach and student to learn will be met with serious consequences.”
Students reported racist comments made during the day of the incident at the school.
“There was a lot of racial comments all throughout the day,” said student Kamara Ojo.
On the same day as the brawl, the school also sent a letter to families that racially hateful graffiti had been found in a bathroom at the school in the weeks prior. The graffiti was removed and an investigation was launched, but the school said it remains unclear who was behind it.
“This type of language does not represent the school culture we strive for at Wheaton North,” the letter read. “On a daily basis, we work very hard to ensure that we are creating and sustaining an inclusive culture where all children feel safe, supported and connected. Over the past 2 years, this has been a staff focus and we’ve been working with each other and with students to achieve this vision.”
Images of the graffiti started circulating on social media, which “perpetuated a hateful message that we do not tolerate,” the principal said.
It remains unclear if the two incidents are related.
Khalila Holmds, a senior at the school, said racially charged issues have been a problem during her time at the school.
“This has been happening,” she said. “We had an assembly and our principal made an announcement that this will no longer be tolerated.”