Brawl Closes School In Hawaii As Racial Tensions Erupt Among Students

A brawl closes a school in Hawaii as racial tensions among students and a number of fights earlier in the week led up to a massive fight involving 20 to 30 students.

Eight students were arrested after the fracas at Kealakehe High School in Kailua-Kona, The Associated Press reported. After the brawl closes the school, teachers and administrators grappled with how to get control of students before finals are set to begin next week.

Police said no students were seriously hurt in the brawl on Thursday, that it did lead to a closing of the school of 1,600 students. Seven boys and one girl were arrested after the incident and charged with disorderly conduct.

The brawl at the school was caused by racial bullying and taunts that had been escalating, school officials said.

“The result overflowed on the Micronesian side where there was frustration, yelling and screaming — a reaction,” principal Wilfred Murakami told West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii has a small but growing population from the Federated States of Micronesia, The Associated Press reported. The immigration is the result of a 1986 pact that allows citizens from three Pacific Island nations to come to the United States in exchange for allowing the US to use defense sites.

This immigration has caused tension across the state between immigrants and native Hawaiians. In the 2010 fiscal year, the state spent more than $52 million on health care, welfare, public housing, and homeless support for more than 17,000 migrants from Micronesia.

As the brawl closes the school, officials have said they hope to improve the atmosphere among students, who often anticipate fights and gather to watch once they start.