School police chief defends officers’ actions in altercation caught on video: They ‘needed to deescalate’ cafeteria chaos

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Two teen girls were arrested in their Pennsylvania high school cafeteria — and video footage of the incident has surfaced showing school police officers in an altercation with a student.

A student filmed two school officials at Hazleton Area High School in Hazleton, Pennsylvania restraining a girl, reportedly 15-years-old, while a police officer appears to knock her in the legs with his fist. When her knees buckle, that officer took her ponytail and, along with school officers, pinned her to a lunchroom table. The beginning of the video briefly shows another girl being led away by a school official. A mob of students is heard on video screaming, and one jumps onto the table.

Neither Brian Uplinger, the superintendent of Hazleton Area School District, nor the school’s police chief Edward Harry returned Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.

“They only saw a just very small portion of what went on, they didn’t see anything about what led up to it and the entire altercation in the cafeteria — I’m going to refer to it as a melee,” Chief Harry told Scranton news station WYOU. “At that point, the officers had to get that under control immediately. You can see from that snippet of video, there were hundreds of kids in the cafeteria…they were all cheering her on…yelling and screaming. They needed to deescalate that.”