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Fight Erupts Between Black, White Junior High Students

September 17, 1985

PRINCETON, W.Va. (AP) _ Several fights broke out Monday between black and white students at a junior high school, and 250 of its 950 students were taken home early by parents, officials said.

One coach was hit in the eye in one altercation, but the fights were broken up quickly by teachers at Princeton Junior High School, officials said. There were no serious injuries and no arrests.

Some parents called The Bluefield Daily Telegraph on Monday night saying they would keep their children out of school Tuesday, the newspaper reported.

But Mercer County interim schools Superintendent I. Sue Schmelzer said classes would be held as scheduled.

″We feel we will have things under control,″ she said.

The fights stemmed from an incident at a school dance Saturday night when blacks and whites began fighting, said Principal Irene Pauley.

A group of six to eight black parents complained Monday that they had received threatening telephone calls over the weekend, telling them to keep their children away from school, Pauley said.

Some of the parents accompanied their children to school Monday, she said.

Before school Monday, a group of eight blacks playing basketball in the gymnasium were surrounded by about six white males who threatened to use mace, Pauley said.

Pauley said coaches and other teachers broke up the fight and that the white students fled by a back entrance before police were called.

A short time later, some of the black parents who reported the threats removed their children. Other parents soon arrived and removed 250 students, both black and white, from the school, Pauley said.

In the afternoon, a group of youngsters who had gathered at the school were asked to leave and they began fighting off school grounds, Schmelzer said.

Police broke up that altercation and no arrests were made, she said. Schmelzer said a football coach was hit in the eye trying to break up one fight.

Just before school ended five police officers were sent to prevent resumption of fights and three officers were to patrol Tuesday, said Lt. C.A. Kassay.

No fights were reported after school but there was shouting of threats by both sides, officials said.

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