An investigation has been launched into claims a Texas school staged bare fist cage fights between unruly pupils.
Teachers at South Oak Cliff High School in Dallas allegedly sent troubled students into a steel cage in a locker room to settle their differences.
The Dallas Morning News says the cage fights took place between 2003 and 2005 between pupils who wore no boxing gloves or head protection.
“It was gladiator-style entertainment for the staff,” said Frank Hammond who was fired from South Oak Cliff High School and has filed a whistleblower lawsuit.
“They were taking these boys downstairs to fight. And it was sanctioned by the principal and security.”
Internal district reports reportedly say school employees and even the principal relied on “the cage” to settle disputes and bring unruly students under control.
Donald Moten, principal at South Oak Cliff High at the time, denied any wrongdoing when contacted by the newspaper.
“That’s barbaric. You can’t do that at a high school. You can’t do that anywhere,” Mr Moten said. “Ain’t nothing to comment on. It never did happen. I never put a stop to anything because it never happened.”
But district investigator Michael Hinojosa confirmed there were “some things that happened inside of a cage” and said the fights were “unacceptable.”
He said criminal charges were not filed but disciplinary action had been taken. A new principal had since “cleaned up that whole school, and a lot of that stuff went away”.