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Student Brawlers Must Suffer the Consequences

September 18, 2018

It’s up to the Lowell School Department and the administration at Lowell High School to establish discipline among its students and enforce rules and regulations that misconduct of any kind will not be tolerated.

What happened Friday afternoon in downtown Lowell, where a student brawl spilled across several streets, stopped traffic, and forced the lockdown of a local business is totally unacceptable.

If not for the calm restraint of Lowell Police Department officers and other law enforcement officials called in from neighboring communities to quell the violent combatants, this could have turned into a major confrontation and possible tragedy.

According to police sources, a fist fight that occurred several days earlier between two male high school students escalated into Friday’s brawl.

Eleven students -- 10 juveniles and one 18-year-old -- have been arrested so far, and police are searching for several other participants who were seen in a half-dozen videos shot by witnesses.

The behavior of the combatants was bad enough, but what is equally disturbing on video is the reaction of dozens of kids who were drawn to the melee. They seemed to relish the fighting and chaos that struck fear into passing motorists, shoppers, and those attending a nearby Farmers Market across from Shattuck Street.

In one video, a police officer is seen trying to help a student being beaten helplessly when he himself is pushed to the ground. It was at this point that other officers were forced to use pepper spray on the crowd, which refused to obey orders to disperse and instead chose to encircle the officers.

Never has there been such a terrible scene in Lowell, especially one perpetrated by young people who ignored, taunted and spat at police.

Of course, anti-police agitators on social media were quick to exploit the situation. They denounced police efforts to restore order by making up “fake news” threads of police brutality in Lowell. This is the despicable trash -- and distortion -- that gets disseminated in seconds to tens of thousands of people all over the globe.

Lowell’s good image does not deserve to be tarnished in such a way.

The melee culprits must be made to understand the severity of their criminal actions whether they are juveniles or not. They cannot be allowed to hide behind their age or social and economic station. They have brought shame to their own community standing and to the city and residents alike.

For starters, all should be immediately expelled from school. And they should not be allowed back until they have made a public apology, committed to a community service work program in the downtown, and petitioned the School Department as to why they should be allowed back in the high school.

If these kids want to be treated seriously by adults, let them understand the seriousness of their reprehensible actions.

And if they refuse to make amends, we have no qualms with the City of Lowell, the Police Department and the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office clamping down on these student-thugs to the fullest extent of the law.

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