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Madison La Follette High School student badly injured in fight

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Two teens beat up a 15-year-old La Follette High School so badly Thursday afternoon that he will likely need surgery, police said.

Police said the victim told them a group of students was making fun of him before the fight inside the school at 702 Pflaum Road on the city’s Southeast Side, and that school surveillance video of the incident shows the victim and another teen preparing to fight one another and several teens punching or attempting to punch the victim.

The incident was reported at 4:10 p.m., police said, or a little more than 30 minutes after the end of classes at La Follette. Police said teachers and administrators quickly broke up the fight but the victim will likely need oral surgery for an injury to his mouth.

In a blog post Friday, Police Chief Shon Barnes said the assailants — one 16 and one 17 and both boys — were arrested and tentatively charged with physical abuse to a child and disorderly conduct. A police incident report also noted that the two teens faced possible charges.

On Tuesday, police spokeswoman Stephanie Fryer said that information "was preliminary and wrong."

"No arrests have been made in connection to this case, but there is probable cause" to make an arrest, Fryer said. "A detective has been assigned and will be following up on this case."

Fryer declined to say why no arrests had been made or how that information was erroneously reported, noting only that an update in the case was expected on Wednesday.

Madison School District spokesperson Tim LeMonds would not comment on any specific disciplinary action taken against the students, but said the district is “following the Behavior Education Plan with all students involved to determine consequences and restorative options.”

That plan says students who commit “any physical aggression that results in serious injury,” such as a broken bone or one requiring hospitalization, can be expelled.

On Dec. 2, police arrested 18-year-old Marquan Webb at the school for allegedly having a stolen loaded gun. Police had received an anonymous tip that day and after La Follette’s interim principal, Mathew Thompson, attempted to confront Webb in a classroom, Webb pushed past Thompson and had to be taken to the ground and restrained by three police officers, police said.

Police have also responded to fights inside and outside East High School this school year, including one in which police deployed pepper spray to break it up.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to note that no arrests have been made in this case, contrary to statements by police on Friday. Police spokesperson Stephanie Fryer said later that that information was "preliminary and wrong." 

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