Police called what happened at a Bladen County High School Monday "a riot." Students at West Bladen High reported that more than 50 people were involved in the fighting that resulted in a number of arrests. The violence started just after 10:00 this morning, and continued until about noon. Many left school, fearing it wasn't over. “I’m tense and it's scary; this is the most fights we've had in one day,” said Jeremy Mills, a senior at West Bladen. By 12 o'clock, students said six or seven fights involving more than 50 people had already taken place throughout the school. “There was one boy that got jumped by five boys, and they knocked him on the ground and stomped on him and all kinds of stuff,” said sophomore Nicole Thompson. About 15 Bladen County sheriff’s deputies responded to what they called a riot. Deputies took 10 people in custody. Charges range from inciting a riot, to assault on a government official. Parents said this is hardly an isolated incident. “We've had to come and sign them out before, because of gang activity and fighting,” said Dawn Thompson, a West Bladen parent. Deputies said it's too early to know if the riot was gang related. No weapons were involved in the incident. Deputies expect several more arrests. Students said they're just worried about going back to school. “I do not feel safe,” Jeremy Mills said. Nicole Thompson added, “There's no telling what would happen.” West Bladen never went on an official lockdown, but school employees screened everyone entering and leaving the building. The assistant superintendent for Bladen County schools declined to comment. Tonight, members of the Elizabethtown Community will conduct a forum on gang violence. The forum had been planned in advance, and just happens to coincide with today’s violence. We'll have more on the discussion tonight at eleven and updated on wwaytv3.com.
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