http://www.miamiherald.com/top_stories/story/439860.html Dozens arrested at Miami High School Brawl Police, Miami Edison students dispute cause of melee By ERIKA BERAS, DAVID OVALLE AND KATHLEEN McGRORY Police officers rushed into the building. Teenagers stood up and shouted, some throwing milk cartons and bottles of water. Students, teachers and community members were alarmed by the scene Friday at Miami Edison Senior High School after a peaceful student demonstration rapidly deteriorated into a lunchtime melee, and there were differing accounts of why things escalated. ''It was crazy,'' said senior Jimmy Hyppolite, 18. ''Everyone was screaming and running, pushing. There were kids in handcuffs. Some kids were crying.'' The fight involved hundreds of teens and scores of police officers. At one point, no fewer than 60 police cruisers surrounded the school's campus, at 6161 NW Fifth Ct. in Miami. At least 24 students were arrested on charges of rioting, disrupting a school function and resisting arrest with violence, police sources said. Ten officers were treated at the scene for minor injuries. At least a half-dozen students were hurt or suffered respiratory problems. The brawl, the third outbreak of violence in Miami-Dade schools in three days, underscored Haitian community tensions with police. PARENTS PROTEST At a rally Friday evening, community members questioned the police response. Dozens of angry students, parents and activists packed the area outside Edison's main entrance. Students who saw the ruckus and activists from the Power U Center for Social Change and the Miami Workers Center shouted out demands of police and school officials. ''We want them to drop all charges against students and release all that were arrested,'' senior Chris Ford Green told television crews. Superintendent Rudy Crew called the incident ``unfortunate.'' ''We encourage student expression; however, misconduct by anyone including students and staff will not be tolerated,'' Crew wrote in a statement. ``We will . . . meet with members of the Edison community to resolve the issues at hand.'' The disturbance followed a sit-in demonstration during the school's first lunch period, at about 11:30 a.m., schools spokesman Quintin Taylor said. Students said the sit-in was intended to be peaceful. The students were protesting a confrontation Thursday between Assistant Principal Javier Perez and a student who had been arrested at the school. District officials did not name the student, but classmates identified him as senior Wadson Sagaille, 17. Miami-Dade Schools Detective Ed Torrens said administrators had told Edison's school resource police officer a walkout was rumored for about 9:15 a.m. Friday. The walkout didn't happen, he said. CHAIRS THROWN Three or four officers attended lunch to monitor and answer questions about Thursday's arrest, Torrens said. Students began throwing chairs at officers and spitting at them, he said, and some chairs hit other students. ''Then those students wanted to fight back, and it went south fast,'' Torrens said. The fights spilled into the courtyard. Officers began radioing for ''315s'' -- code for officers needing assistance. Junior Sabrina Francois, 16, said the violence began when police showed up: Police ``hit a pregnant girl with a stick. Even if they were just standing by, they hit so many girls.'' Senior Jenson Dolce, 18, said students were throwing milk and yogurt at the officers. The police ''pushed me into a fire extinguisher trying to contain the crowd,'' said Dolce, who needed stitches for a cut to the hand. Although students alleged Tasers were used, Miami-Dade Schools spokesman John Schuster said schools police don't carry stun guns and Miami-Dade Police Union President John Rivera and Miami Police spokesman Delrish Moss said they did not believe their officers used Tasers. EARLIER INCIDENT Schools spokesman Taylor gave this account of the incident Thursday that generated Friday's demonstration: Assistant principal Perez spotted Sagaille roaming the hallways alone and thought he might be skipping school. ''He fled,'' Taylor said. ``He became defiant.'' Perez caught up with Sagaille at about 1:30 p.m. inside classroom F211. According to a police report, Sagaille saw Miami-Dade Schools Officer Einsley Joseph standing in the doorway, turned back and grabbed the assistant principal ``by his neck and pushed him back off his feet.'' ''I intervened by restraining [Sagaille], who fled down the hallway,'' Joseph wrote. The officer found Sagaille inside classroom G203 and asked the student to go to the assistant principal's office. ''I made an attempt at that time to take [Sagaille] into custody due to the fact that the entire classroom had stood up and disrupted neighboring classrooms,'' Joseph wrote. Joseph, a Haitian American, said Sagaille damaged computers and kicked a glass fire extinguisher cover while being arrested. Students gave a different account. Perez put the student ''in a choke hold,'' said Julian Jean-Simon, a senior. ``The cop tried to stop it.'' ''The children are livid,'' said an Edison teacher who spoke on the condition of anonymity. ``They felt it wasn't fair or just.'' Schools spokesman Schuster said Perez has ``extensive experience.'' ''His colleagues say he's an exemplary educator with an excellent track record,'' Schuster said. Sagaille declined several requests to comment Friday. His extended family has been torn apart by gun violence and death, as documented by a Miami Herald report in January. A number of close relatives -- descendants of family patriarch Joe Cooper -- have been wounded or killed in recent years. A woman who answered the phone at Principal Jean Teal's office said Teal would not comment. In addition to the 12 male and 12 female students arrested, three adult men with no known connection to the school were arrested on trespassing charges. TENSE MEETING The brawl and arrests shocked Little Haiti. At a tense meeting later Friday at the Jean-Jacques Dessalines center, Edison parents sought a list of those arrested and the condition of any student sent to the hospital. Parents and Haitian leaders demanded a full investigation, and school officials promised one. Construction worker Edwin Alvarez, whose daughter Jeislee, 18, was arrested, was among a group of angry relatives and classmates gathered outside the Miami-Dade Juvenile Assessment Center, 275 NW Second St., while the students were processed. ''She was arrested and treated like a criminal for just being in the area,'' Alvarez said of Jeislee, adding that she is part of a student group that fights violence. ``I have no idea how she's doing.'' `RESTORATIVE JUSTICE' At the Edison rally, demonstrators vented their displeasure with Perez. ''We want them to arrest and fire Mr. Perez, and we want restorative justice. Do not retaliate against students who are here,'' Green, the Edison senior, told TV crews. It has been a violent week in North Dade schools. On Thursday, a student was shot in the ear while breaking up a fight at Norland High School. Wednesday, a 14-year-old female student expelled last year from the private North Dade Academy in Opa-locka attempted and failed to shoot the principal.