A kindergarten graduation in Cleveland ended with eight people in detention, police detention, after an argument erupted into a sidewalk brawl.
Families of students at the Michael R. White School were gathered for the end-of-year ceremony when two teenagers got into a dispute and stepped outside to continue it, said Roseann Canfora, a spokeswoman for the city schools.
"There were no students from our school involved," Canfora said.
Cleveland Police Commander Wayne Drummond said investigators were trying to confirm reports that a spilled cup of punch sparked the original argument.
He said the first 911 call came in as a report of a shot fired which turned out not to be true and the school was put on lockdown while several patrol cars responded within minutes.
"There were no guns, but one individual did pull out a club or a stick and one person did grab a hammer," Drummond told the local media .
"Officers were able to separate the combatants," he said.
Who comes to a kindergarten graduation ready for war? If they'll bring a stick and a hammer to the kindergarten graduation I can only imagine the kind of weaponry they'd bring to the High School graduation. There might be shell casings left all over that auditorium!
Seven adults and one teenager were arrested for aggravated rioting and prosecutors will decide whether to charge them, he said. No one was seriously injured, but there were a number of scrapes and bruises from the fisticuffs.
Drummond said it was unfortunate that what should have been a joyous day for the little scholars moving onto first grade ended with their relatives getting hauled away in handcuffs.
"It's just sad that it was marred by some adults who should be setting an example for the kids of how to behave but who did quite the opposite," he said.
As I began researching this story I began to wonder what kind of atmosphere fosters such a combative mentality. Of course I am speaking rhetorically. Because I firmly believe that people tend to overlook the circumstances that tend to influence those who are products of their environments. This behavior is usually chalked up to that which is inherently unique to "those people", and there is little or no analysis beyond that of nonsensical attribution.
The fact is, it is very difficult for people who are always battling something to suddenly stop fighting. People who are in a constant battle for survival, and progress remain tense. The setting doesn't particularly matter. It doesn't make it right. But the frustration that goes along with the lives of some, can make spilled punch a catalyst to vent the tension and frustration and ignite disaster.