4 teens charged for sneaking into Southwest HS, beating up student

- Four teens who allegedly entered Southwest High School in Minneapolis and beat up a student on Jan. 22 have been charged with burglary and rioting, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Tuesday.

A juvenile court judge will determine if the three 17-year-olds and a 16-year-old will be tried as adults. All of them attended other Minneapolis schools and were charged by juvenile petition.

According to the petition:

One of them said he had an argument on Facebook with the student and went to Southwest to fight him. There’s only one door open during school hours where visitors sign in and are given a visitor’s badge, but they apparently got through a door locked to the outside somehow.

A teacher was starting his fifth-hour chemistry class when he saw what he thought were students in the hall trying to get the attention of someone in his class, so he shut the door. Several minutes later, the teens opened the door, ran at the student in the back of the room and yelled at him, punching and kicking him. The teacher tried to break it up and suffered a broken finger. The student ran out of the classroom, and the teens fled.

School personnel followed and saw them board Metro Transit bus at W. 47th Street and Xerxes Avenue South. Police identified them with video surveillance from the bus.

“I think everyone would agree that all of our children deserve to have a safe school environment in which to learn,” Freeman said. “In this case, several teenagers who did not attend this school found a way to get in, disrupt a class and injure a student and a teacher. We decided to charge these four with burglary because it has tougher penalties than the lower-level assault charges.”

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