'It was chaos': Protest over high school dress code change sparks large fight

The school board in the Southeast Delco School District held an emergency meeting Wednesday night after a peaceful protest over a change in the dress code at Academy Park High School in Sharon Hill turns into a brawl.

The fights broke out Tuesday morning both inside and outside the 1,300-student school. At least ten students were arrested and will likely be charged with aggravated assault and related charges. 

"It was chaos inside and outside," said Lori Fetrow, whose nieces attend the school. "They were fighting inside and outside the school. A lot of people 20, 25 people in there. It’s scary to them."

"It's a hoodie. It's a piece of cloth. Stop worrying about what's on my body. Worry about what's in my head. I need education. I need to be sure I'm safe," parent Michele McGowan said.

Irate parents, frustrated students and teachers packed the Academy Park High School auditorium to voice their concerns over a ban on hoodies.

"Someone could have gotten killed yesterday. We need to focus on that, instead of focusing on hoodies," said student Matthew Bing.

Videos posted to various social media show the chaos both inside and outside the high school. Students admitted the situation got out of hand after they protested peacefully, but say they were scared and mistreated.

Last month, the school board banned the wearing of hooded sweatshirts and hats in the school. The new policy took effect Monday.

The Superintendent of Schools did not respond to a call and a visit to her office for comment. A school board member also refused to speak with FOX 29's Jeff Cole.

School Board President Theresa Harris-Johnson said the students' behavior didn't solve anything. "If you did not approve of the policy, tearing down your school, having those fights and everything where police had to be called and everything, was not necessary."

Rodney Hill is a member of the Sharon Hill Borough Council who opposes the new policy, saying "I don’t think it should be banned. It’s a culture thing. People wear hoodies. I wear hoodies, everybody wears hoodies it’s part of the way you dress."

Many are saying the real problem has to do with huge staffing shortages.

"We still don't have enough teachers. Until we have enough staff to patrol hallways, we shouldn't even be considering what kids are wearing. I don't care if they come in their pajamas, at least they're here," McGowan added.