FALL RIVER — This afternoon, a "shelter in place" order was instituted at Durfee High School in Fall River, following a fight between ninth grade students and rumors of a weapon on campus.

Fall River Superintendent of Schools Matthew Malone issued the following statement regarding the incident that took place at Durfee this afternoon:

"Today, at approximately 12:45 p.m. at Durfee High School, there was a physical altercation between a small group of ninth grade students. Staff immediately responded and broke up said altercation. As a result of our investigation following this altercation, we received information from several students alleging that there may be a weapon on campus.

We immediately contacted our (School Resource Officers) and our school security team to assess the situation. Until we could assess the credibility of the allegations and operating from an abundance of caution, we placed Durfee High School into a “shelter in place” posture. At that time, we continued our investigation, working in partnership with the (Fall River Police), taking all appropriate steps necessary to determine if there was a weapon on school campus. Based on the investigation and the information provided to us from our students, we were able to confiscate a knife. At that point we determined that it was safe to end our shelter in place and dismiss students not involved in the investigation for the day.

The students involved were identified and will face appropriate consequences and potential criminal charges. As an additional precaution to ensure our students’ safety, we brought in a police K-9 unit assist with a thorough search of the belongings of all students involved. School faculty, staff and administration, school security, and the FRPD all worked cooperatively during the entirety of this event. We will continue to spot check students upon entrance and will reinstitute random bag checks to be proactive in ensuring a safe and secure school environment.

We urge parents to have a conversation with their children at home this evening, stressing that there is no place in any of our schools for weapons. We also want to thank the model students that came forward today - if a student sees something or hears something, they need to immediately say something to an adult that they trust in our school buildings. The high school did an excellent job of communicating with parents throughout the process and our teachers served as a great support system to the investigating team and our students during a stressful situation. Today is a great example of teamwork and collaboration to maintain school safety and security at all times."

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