One student was rushed to the hospital and another was arrested following a fight after school on Thursday afternoon that touched off a torrent of reactions throughout the student body. The injured student is a member of a clique that identifies itself with a gang name, prompting some students to fear retaliation on Friday.
According to Lt. Steven Contente, two males were involved in a fight in the bus circle at Mt. Hope High School shortly after school let out.
"One of the boys was transported to the hospital with facial injuries and the other was taken to the station and will be referred to Family Court for assault," Contente said.
The fight doesn't end there. Students have created a frenzy on Facebook surrounding the fight and the student rushed to the hospital, who refers to himself as a "Juggalo," a known name for devoted fans of the band Insane Clown Posse (ICP).
According to a number of students at Mt. Hope, the Juggalos are a group of students who hang out together and share a common music appreciation for ICP and wear black face paint on their lips and around their eyes, similar to the makeup worn by the band.
However, Juggalos across the nation have been making headlines as FBI-recognized gang members. According to a recent article by Rolling Stone Magazine, the 2011 FBI National Gang Threat Assessment announced that Juggalos are a newly recognized gang whose crimes are "sporadic, disorganized, individualistic" and involve "simple assault, personal drug use and possession, petty theft and vandalism."
One member of the group at Mt. Hope recently denied the rumors that he and his friends were a "gang." On Facebook he wrote,
"I had someone tell me this morning I’m not a Juggalo and it’s not who I am well I’m sorry to the good friend who said this to me cuz I am a Juggalo and I’m down with the clown for life cuz I found my true family for life that always will have my back so f*** all you haters who can act like wiggers and preps but we can’t be who the f*** who we are and you wanna tell us we’re not Juggalos cuz to you people it’s a gang and your f****** wrong it’s a family and family lives forever WHOOP WHOOP!!!"
After the fight, Facebook exploded with status changes and comments from Mt. Hope students calling out the group of students.
"There's probably only one in every 10 posts on my news feed right now that doesn't have anything to do with the Juggalos," one senior said, noting that most of the posts were either hateful or fearful of the Juggalos. "Some people are worried that the Juggalos are going to retaliate and some are ready to fight these kids."
On Twitter, a Mt. Hope student with the username BruceyBYall115, wrote, "This juggalo shit is getting way out of hand," and followed up with a second tweet saying, "I'm deff afraid to go to school tomorrow...."
But to other students and social media users who have been kept in the loop, fearing or hating the group of students is a joke.
On Twitter, user WakaFlockaJordn responded to the hype to say, "to all my friends in Bristol, In order to destroy the Juggalos you must lure them into traps with Faygo and ICP merch."
One Mt. Hope senior said she doesn't buy into the widespread rumors.
"This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard of," she said. "Seriously, I think the people that are talking about it are way worse than the people who are dressing like that. No one is going to do anything, and in a week it'll be over."
One parent, worried that bullying has not been properly addressed at Mt. Hope, said she knows some of the kids known as Juggalos and says they are the furthest thing from an organized gang.
"I know some of these kids and their parents," she said. "They're good kids. If anything, they're the ones being picked on just because of the way they are dressed."
For another parent, the stories being told are just too much to ignore.
"It is very unsettling to hear, because as a parent, you want to know that your kids are safe at school."