For the second time this week, School Superintendent James A. Williams found himself talking about the latest incident of girl-on-girl violence in Buffalo's high schools.
Williams announced the suspension Friday of seven female students, all between 15 and 17 years of age. The suspensions came as a result of two separate fights, one involving five girls at Riverside High School and the other involving two at Burgard.
The suspensions follow a similar girl-on-girl fight earlier this week at Grover Cleveland High School and an earlier fight at Lafayette.
"If you're noticing the trend, it's all females," Williams said at a news conference in his City Hall office. "Most are 15. They're young. We need to do something that deals with their problems."
At least one student was slightly injured in the fight at Riverside but no one involved in either fight was hospitalized or arrested.
Williams said both fights stemmed from disputes over boys that started well before any of the girls got to school Friday.
"It seems something happened in the community that carried over to the schools," he said of both fights.
Williams said the presence of police at the schools, part of a strategy he and Mayor Byron W. Brown announced Tuesday, helped quell the violence at both schools. Williams maintains that police are routinely assigned to school buildings in other cities, and that such practices are growing.
"It's another black eye," Williams said of the two fights. "But the good thing, if there can be a good thing, is we know who they are and they're a small number."
The suspensions came just a day after Williams announced plans to open a new alternative school in the fall for disruptive and troubled students at School 171 on East Delavan Avenue.
Williams said the new school will accommodate about 500 students from grades 7 to 12 and offer a combination of academic and social service programs. The district, which closed a similar school a few years ago, estimates the new school will cost about $5 million to open.