Fights at Santa Maria high school lead to six student arrests

Six students arrested after fights at a Santa Maria high school

A series of lunchtime fights Wednesday at a Santa Maria high school resulted in a lockdown, the cancellation of classes and the arrest of six students.

A fight between two female students at Righetti High School began a run of several other brawls that prompted school officials to lock down the campus and eventually cancel classes for the rest of the day, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office.

As school security officers and a sheriff's deputy responded to the fights, they were pelted with food and bottles, said spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

While breaking up one fight, a deputy was pushed and hit by students.

A video that reportedly shows one skirmish depicted a deputy striking a female student in the face, the Santa Maria Times reported.

Hoover said the deputy was protecting himself from students.

"In the process of defending himself, he shoved the females away and one of the suspects was knocked to the ground," the department said in a statement.

Hoover said the department will review the use of force in the incident, but that at first glance it appeared the deputy acted appropriately.

The students were arrested on a litany of charges, including resisting arrest resulting in injury to a deputy, battery of a peace officer, assault, possession of a knife on school grounds, possession of marijuana on school grounds, and resisting arrest and obstruction.  

There were no serious injuries. The students were being held at a juvenile facility. 

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