NEW: How students stalled efforts to break up Wellington High fight


Efforts to break up a fight during lunch at Wellington High School on Friday were hampered by students trying to record the brawl, according to a message sent to parents Friday afternoon.

Those trying to use their smartphones to record the incident — which prompted a “modified lockdown” through the end of the school day — “pressed in on adults,” making their job more difficult, Principal Mario Crocetti said in the message.

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The fight started between two male students but grew to include “five or six boys,” Crocetti said.

A modified lockdown means “business as usual” inside the school, but no one may enter and no one can leave, said School District spokeswoman Kathy Burstein.

The lockdown came one day after an “unsubstantiated” bomb threat was found scrawled on a bathroom wall at the school. In a message to parents Thursday afternoon, Crocetti said the threat was not credible, but there would be an increased School District police presence on campus Friday.

Burstein said the lockdown Friday was not related to Thursday’s threat.

A Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office spokesman confirmed deputies responded to Wellington High on Friday to assist School District police with the fight.

Modified lockdowns at area schools are not unusual and often may be prompted by events off-campus. In late 2015 and January 2016, School District officials battled a spate of threats made to Wellington-area schools, including bomb threats and threats of school shootings. School District police investigate each threat and deem it credible or “unsubstantiated,” as with the threat found Thursday at Wellington High.

In the past, parents would not necessarily be notified of unsubstantiated threats at Palm Beach County schools. That changed after a threat found on a bathroom wall at Park Vista High School west of Boynton Beach in December 2015. A week after that incident, Superintendent Robert Avossa told principals they must tell parents about every threat, whether credible or not.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Schools seek culprits behind threats at Wellington-area schools



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