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Fights delay Learning Center graduation as law enforcement, school officials struggle to contain the violence

A string of physical altercations began just prior to when the graduation ceremony was set to begin at the Learning Center Thursday.

Just prior to the graduation ceremony's scheduled start, a chaotic series of fights broke out at the Learning Center Thursday, May 26, 2022. Some individuals held on to their friends and relatives in order to stop them from engaging in the scuffle, as shown.
Just prior to the graduation ceremony's scheduled start, a chaotic series of fights broke out at the Learning Center Thursday, May 26, 2022. Some individuals held on to their friends and relatives in order to stop them from engaging in the scuffle, as shown.
Kari Lucin / The Globe
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WORTHINGTON — A series of physical fights broke out at the Learning Center Thursday, just prior to the scheduled start of the graduation ceremony meant to honor students in the class of 2022.

Law enforcement from the Worthington Police Department and the Nobles County Sheriff's Office, as well as school administrators and school staff, attempted to separate and contain the individuals involved.

THE FOLLOWING VIDEO CONTAINS VIOLENCE AND STRONG LANGUAGE.

Though at least one individual involved in the original scuffle exited the gym, which had been decorated and set up for the graduation, at least two additional altercations appeared to begin in the entryway area of the Learning Center, just outside the gym.

Video footage appears to shows a man being subdued by law enforcement and a school official, as well as multiple other scuffles, involving several different individuals.

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As of 3 p.m. Friday, the Worthington Police Department stated they did not have any new information regarding the incident and were still looking into the matter, though they anticipated charges being filed by next week.

It was not immediately clear who was instigating the violence and who was attempting to stop it, as multiple individuals grabbed loved ones and friends to try to keep them from becoming involved.

Some of the crowd eventually moved outside of the Learning Center, where an individual appeared to be bleeding from the nose, and several people attempted to continue fighting, according to a Globe reporter's account.

District 518 Superintendent John Landgaard and a Worthington Police officer approach a couple of individuals in the bleachers at the Learning Center graduation as a series of fights broke out.
District 518 Superintendent John Landgaard and a Worthington Police officer approach a couple of individuals in the bleachers at the Learning Center graduation as a series of fights broke out.
Kari Lucin / The Globe

The Sanford Worthington Ambulance responded to the scene, as did multiple police officers and sheriff's office deputies.

After law enforcement separated the individuals and asked some to leave, the graduation ceremony began.

"It's just awful that they all had the audacity to ruin a special day for our graduates," said John Landgaard, District 518 superintendent.

"There's a few that ruin it for everybody, that's the bottom line. It's a few bad eggs that cause a lot of problems," he said.

A post on the Worthington Public Schools Facebook feed states: "We had an unfortunate incident that occurred at the Learning Center before graduation started. The authorities were here to help restore order. Once the situation was handled the Learning Center Graduation moved forward to celebrate the hard work of our LC Graduates. We will be having more security around our buildings tomorrow for the safety of our students."

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As of 3 p.m. Friday, the Worthington Police Department stated they did not have any new information regarding the incident and were still looking into the matter, though they anticipated charges being filed by next week.

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A Worthington Police officer tends to a male with a bloodied nose following a fight that broke out during the graduation ceremony for ALC students this evening in Worthington.
Kari Lucin / The Globe

ORIGINAL POST:

WORTHINGTON — Members of the Worthington Police Department, Nobles County Sheriff’s Office and Sanford Worthington Ambulance have responded to the scene of the Area Learning Center in Worthington for a series of fights that broke out between people gathered there for tonight’s graduation ceremony.

Globe reporter Kari Lucin was on the scene to cover the graduation ceremony when a fight between two individuals broke out in the school’s gymnasium. At least one law enforcement officer was on the scene, and the individuals were escorted outside the gymnasium.

The fight reportedly continued outside the gymnasium, and then moved outdoors, where several other fights broke out. Lucin said both males and females are involved, and she saw at least one person with a bloodied nose.

The Globe will have more on this incident as information becomes available from school officials and law enforcement.

A 1999 graduate of Jackson County Central and a 2003 graduate of Augsburg College, Kari Lucin started writing for newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2006. During her time as a reporter, she covered beats including education, watershed, county and agriculture, and frequently wrote about health and science. She has also served as an online content coordinator and an engagement specialist at various Forum Communications properties. She was a marketing assistant at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville for two years, where she did design work in addition to writing and social media management.

Lucin is currently a community editor with the Globe of Worthington.

Email: klucin@dglobe.com
Phone: (507) 376-7319
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