A school resource deputy used a stun gun on Tuesday to break up a fight between two 14-year-old girls at McLane Middle School, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.
The fight started near the school bus ramp at the Brandon school. School Resource Deputy Chad Keen tried to separate the girls and break up the fight.
But the fighting didn’t stop, and a large crowd of students began to gather, making the situation more dangerous, said sheriff’s office spokesman Larry McKinnon.
When Keen again tried to separate the girls, they attacked him, McKinnon said. He said Keen deployed his stun gun and shocked one of the 14-year-old girls, then arrested her.
The other 14-year-old girl in the fight ran away. She was later arrested at her Tampa home.
Both girls, who aren’t being named by The Tampa Tribune because of their age, weren’t injured and were taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center in Tampa. Both were charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, fighting, disrupting a school function and obstructing or opposing an officer, McKinnon said.
Sheriff’s deputies who work at schools are allowed to use stun guns when it’s appropriate, McKinnon said.
“There is no policy that restricts them inside a school,” McKinnon said. “It just mandates that they use it for the proper reason. No one wants to Taser anyone. You just can’t continue to let (the fight) get out of hand.”
Steve Hegarty, a spokesman for the Hillsborough County School District, said it’s up to the officer’s discretion whether to use a stun gun to subdue a student on campus.
McLane Middle School Principal Dina Langston contacted the parents of both students on Tuesday. Both parents were upset that the incident occurred but understood why the stun gun was used, Hegarty said.
“They supported it because the deputy and the (school) administration couldn’t sit back and let the kids continue fighting each other,” Hegarty said.
The stun gun incident was one of several incidents this week in Hillsborough County School District in which one or more girls were arrested. In the McLane Middle case, two girls were fighting. In the three other cases, the girls were charged with possession of a weapon on school grounds, the sheriff’s office said.
At Lennard High School in Riverview, 19-year-old student Alicia Capaz of Apollo Beach was charged Tuesday with having a stun gun in her purse while on campus. School administrators had searched her purse for cigarettes and found the stun gun, the sheriff’s office said. She was booked at Orient Road Jail, the sheriff’s office said.
At Randall Middle School in Valrico, a 12-year-old girl was arrested on Tuesday when school officials discovered she was carrying two razor blades. She was taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center in Tampa, the sheriff’s office said.
At Eisenhower Middle in Riverview, a 12-year-old girl was arrested on Monday when a school administration search found she was carrying a 3.5 inch knife. Investigators said a 14-year-old girl at the school gave her the knife because she knew school officials had learned she was carrying it, the sheriff’s office said. Both girls were arrested and taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center in Tampa.
In several of the cases this week, students informed school officials of the weapons possession, McKinnon said.
“The vast majority of students want a safe environment,” McKinnon said.