MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Mount Vernon High School junior Okeino Gregory said a large number of his classmates were not in school Friday following several brawls on Thursday.
"Half the school didn't show up, probably because their parents wanted to keep them home," Gregory said. "I came to school because I don't get into anything with anybody."
Police said seven students were arrested Thursday afternoon when students brawled around the campus, including in the parking lot in front of the school. Gregory said he saw students fighting with the police. He said two police officers were visible at the school Friday. But at dismissal time, no officers or police cars were out front.
Gregory said the brawls were a chain reaction, adding that the fights took place in several locations. He said there were multiple fights in the lunchroom, and he saw students being handcuffed in front of the school.
"Friday was a normal day for me," Gregory said. "Nothing awkward happened."
Freshman Taj Valentin said that he didn't know why many of his classmates didn't come to school but that he knew that some students had been suspended because of the fighting.
Fellow freshman Greg Lindo said he didn't know how the fights started. He said he saw fights in the hallway of the school on Thursday and heard at least one glass window smash.
"Some days I feel safer at school than others," Lindo said.