WIESBADEN, Germany — A high school fistfight last week featured gang overtones that has community officials in Wiesbaden and Darmstadt worried but determined.

The fight at Gen. H.H. Arnold High School in Wiesbaden involved five male students that the school’s principal described as “gang-wannabes.” One of the five was struck so severely in the head he required hospitalization, primarily for a right-eye injury.

“I went up to the school afterward and there was blood all over the place,” said a former student, who still resides in the community.

He and two current students spoke of the March 7 fight and the scope of gang activity in the school, but asked that they not be identified by name.

“It was over colors and a girl,” said a 17-year-old student who witnessed part of the fight and knows the participants. “I find that stupid. I’m tired of the things that go on in the school.”

So are community leaders.

The school immediately suspended the five students. Four received five-day suspensions and the other student got six.

But before those suspensions were over, the 221st Base Support Battalion, based in Wiesbaden, notified the parents of the five students that logistical support for the dependent would be withdrawn, pending a process that allows an appeal.

“I have a very low tolerance for that kind of thing,” Eric Goldman, the high school principal, said

Details of the fight are sketchy, but according to the teens, it may have involved a knife.

“We found no evidence of a knife,” Donna Dean, spokeswoman for 221st BSB, said

Goldman said he was told by one of the students who participated that the fight was a carry-over from a weekend encounter, but did not identify the students involved.

“It was pretty bad,” said the other unidentified student, also 17.

Three days after the fight, Goldman and Lt. Col. Christopher Franks, the 221st BSB commander, spoke to the students about the incident and the Army’s policy on the early return of dependents.

Goldman said in a telephone interview Wednesday that the suspended students and other rabble-rousers represent a tiny fraction of the student body. He spoke glowingly of the academic achievements this year and noted that the majority of students are doing well in school. Gangs have no foothold in the school, he said, adding some teens “might be fascinated” by the subject, and may dress and talk the part, but it often ends there.

“They don’t have to be Boy Scouts,” Goldman said, “but we don’t want them emulating this wrong kind of influence.”

Lt. Col. Mark D. Landers, commander of the Darmstadt-based 233rd BSB, also attended the meeting last week, since so many Darmstadt teens go to the school. Landers plans to meet with parents in Darmstadt on Wednesday to explain the recent incident and how the command and school handles disciplinary problems.

Goldman is correct when he says a lot of the gang emulation is for “show,” the former student said. But the principal is mistaken if he thinks it’s all show and no substance. He then invoked the name of a few gangs operating in and around the community.

School fights are common, he said, “but [most are] not like this one.”

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