A long-simmering quarrel between two girls at Black Rock Academy erupted into a street brawl earlier this week that ended with two youngsters suffering concussions.
"It was like something out of the movies," said Principal Lum Smith, who returned to work Tuesday with a sore back from intervening in the fight. "The problem was it was breaking out all over. I stopped a young man from jumping on the mother and physically attacking her. 'She's a woman, she's a woman,' I kept saying."
Angela E. Klos, the mother of one of the girls, insists the violence, which involved as many as 30 youths, could have been avoided if school officials had taken preventive measures.
School officials say the fight is a classic example of how youths bring outside disagreements onto school grounds.
The battle Monday in front of the elementary school at 101 Hertel Ave. took a heavy toll.
Eighth-grader Lisa A. Klos, 14, suffered a broken nose, concussion and scratches on her face and neck. Her brother, Brian W., 16, also suffered a broken nose and concussion. They were treated at Children's Hospital.
Chester Klos, their father, was repeatedly kicked in the head and beaten about the body, according to his wife, Angela, and police.
The youths who attacked the Klos family members also took their lumps, authorities said.
Klos, 42, was arrested for swinging a hammer into the face of one of the youths and knocking out six of the teen-ager's teeth, police said.
An investigation by the school district is under way, but Smith said the brawl could have been avoided if the Klos family had stayed inside and waited for police after calling 911.
"No doubt this is tragic, and there's a lot more to it," the principal said. "We don't have all of the facts yet."
The family went to the school to report their daughter had been slapped outside the school at about 4:15 p.m. by another eighth-grade girl who -- accompanied by several other girls -- chased the daughter.
Mrs. Klos, the manager of a convenience store on Elmwood Avenue, said the problems started last November, when Lisa refused to date a 16-year-old eighth-grade student.
Another girl who observed an argument between Lisa and the young man in a school hallway began picking on her, the mother said.
"About a month ago, this same girl spilled chocolate milk on my daughter's white silk blouse and told her she didn't deserve to wear something that nice," Mrs. Klos said.
Mrs. Klos said she made several trips to the school seeking help, but was unable to convince school officials a problem existed.
After fleeing from the girls Monday afternoon, Lisa called her home from a pay telephone a few blocks from the school. Her parents and brother rushed to her assistance.
"We met Lisa and drove over to the school. The principal told us there was nothing he could do and that we should call police. So we called 911 from his office and then went outside to wait.
"While we were waiting, a group of about 30 kids, many of them high school age, came up to us. We didn't know they were out there. My husband grabbed a hammer from one of the kids and began to swing it to keep them away from us. He caught one of the kids in the mouth and knocked out six of his teeth.
"Two kids came up behind my husband, got the hammer and knocked him to the ground and began kicking his head. Others started beating my son up, and three girls took my daughter to the school and were slamming her head against the brick wall, telling her they were going to kill her," Mrs. Klos said.
Smith said he called 911 twice before trying to break up the fight along with teacher Dennis Brancato.
By 4:40 p.m., the fight was over. Five patrol cars and three ambulances had arrived.
Eric M. Bryant, 19, of Niagara
Street, was charged with assaulting Chester Klos, police said.
But, trouble for the Klos family continued on Tuesday in Buffalo City Court.
"My son was arrested because he cursed in court when the officers wouldn't let him give his father a shirt, his eyeglasses and cigarettes," Mrs. Klos said.
She also says she will not let her daughter return to school and has turned down an offer from school officials to provide Lisa with psychological counseling.
"I already made arrangements for her to receive counseling weeks ago because she was frightened of that other girl," Mrs. Klos said.
Bill Jackson, director of security for Buffalo Public Schools, said he expects both girls will be suspended for fighting on school grounds.
"This is a classic example of two girls fighting, and one of the girl's parents getting involved, and then we're off to the races," Jackson said. "The violence starts in the neighborhood and ends on our front step."