Principal: 'Factions' to blame for Urbana High fights


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URBANA — Two "factions" of students were involved in the string of fights at Urbana High School on Monday that drew a heavy police presence and led to an early dismissal of all students.

In an email sent to Urbana staff Tuesday, Principal Deloris Brown explained that the "factions" responsible for the altercation "have had issues stemming from middle school and throughout the school year."

Brown added that the issues also trace their roots to an incident in late July in which a 14-year-old Urbana High student was critically injured when he was shot in the back while riding on the handlebars of bicycle being pedaled by another teen in the 1300 block of Beech Street.

"More recently, on this past Friday, the two factions had an incident outside of school and it escalated in the building yesterday," she wrote. "In addition, there was a shooting this past weekend that allegedly involved our students, but UPD did not have specific information to provide to admin yesterday."

Urbana police Lt. Rich Surles said the weekend shootings have "nothing to do with the fights in the school," including Monday's incident.

"Our two shootings — we've made pretty decent progress on them," he said. "There is no reason to believe those things are related."

Surles confirmed that police were called to Urbana High by school officials on Friday afternoon to retrieve a .380-caliber bullet found in the base of a toilet in a second-floor men's room. The round had not been discharged and an investigation is ongoing.


Lyndsay Jones is a reporter covering education at The News-Gazette. Her email is ljones@news-gazette, and you can follow her on Twitter (@__lyndsayjones).