Obituary: James Falzone

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 16

James Falzone, a visually impaired man who designed checks to help blind people use banks, died in his sleep Friday at his South Reynolds Road home. He was 66.

The cause of death is still under investigation.

Mr. Falzone was born without sight and initially struggled through a world not designed for the visually impaired. “Back then, there wasn’t much chance for the education of the impaired,” his wife, Barbara, said.

He received his high school equivalency diploma and went on to the University of Toledo, studying business. For a time, he sold insurance, but he spent much of his time advocating independence for people with visual impairments. He was active in the Maumee and West Toledo Lions Clubs, serving as the latter’s president in 1968.

He and a vice president of Fifth Third Bank worked together to design checks for the visually im paired, using braille and large print. He received a merit award from the Ohio Bureau of Services for the Blind for his efforts.

In the early 1980s, Mr. Falzone gained some sight in his right eye after a cornea transplant.

Mr. Falzone worked a few part-time jobs over the next 11 years until his new cornea failed and had to be replaced in another operation in 1995.

He was working three days a week as a greeter at Toys R Us when he died.

“He loved it because he could work with kids,” his wife said. “He loved children.”

Mr. Falzone had recently been named employee of the month.

Surviving are his wife, Barbara; brothers Anthony and Vincent Falzone; sister, Anne Jones; stepdaughter Tereas Gregory; stepsons, Mark and Eric Strole; eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Funeral services will be at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Neville Funeral Home, 5052 Dorr St. Visitation will be after 2 p.m. Tuesday.

The family requests tributes to the Northwest Ohio Eye Bank and the American Diabetes Association.

Council panel backs nurse funds, hopes for compromise with mayor

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 13

After a tense, aggressive debate with administration officials, city council’s finance committee approved a bill yesterday that could free up $50,000 to fund seven elementary school nurses.

But the council has put the matter on hold until Dec. 9 in hopes of a compromise with Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, who vetoed the last bill council passed to fund the nurses.

“I’m hopeful that, in the next two weeks, the mayor and the administration will find a way to work this matter out and find a consensus,” Councilman Peter Ujvagi said.

The bill, which passed the committee 5-2, would demand that the city’s finance department amend Toledo’s certificate of revenue, which details how much the city is allowed to spend. Those figures are based on the administration’s estimate of the city’s revenues, but council members said the strong economy this year has boosted income beyond those estimates.

Updating the certificate to reflect the larger revenue numbers would allow council to spend more money between now and the year’s end. And city Finance Director Don Saunders said that wouldn’t be a wise move.

“If there’s an intent on spending more money, that’s going to be counterproductive,” he said. “If we’ve done better on revenue in 1997, we should put that money toward the reserves and for 1998.”

But council members, in sometimes heated exchanges, argued that those spending decisions were theirs and theirs alone.

“I detest the attitude of questioning why we want [the money],” Councilman C. Allen McConnell said. “We’re entitled to it, we’re demanding it, and we should get it.”

If the certificate is amended, some of the extra money could be used to fund the school nurse program, members said. Council approved the funding in July, but the appropriation was vetoed by Mr. Finkbeiner. Council overrode the veto, but the checks were never issued because, according to the city’s law department, the money came from nonexistent sources.

Council members said that if there is money in Toledo’s coffers, they have the right to use it how they see fit.

“You almost make it feel like you’re my dad, and I’m asking for my allowance,” Councilman Peter Gerken told Mr. Saunders. “And I can tell you that isn’t a feeling this council will tolerate long. You’re a respected man in your field, but you’re not my dad and I don’t have to ask you for this money.”

But when the matter reached the council at its regular meeting an hour later, Mr. Ujvagi moved that the council not take action until its next meeting in two weeks, giving the mayor two weeks to find money for the nurses.

“Where the compromise will come from, I don’t know,” he said.

In other business:

* Council agreed to pay $55,250 to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center for costs incurred in the treatment of two Toledo police prisoners. Mr. Gerken said he had not received information he requested two weeks ago from the police department on the case, but voted to approve the funding anyway.

* Communications giant Nextel has withdrawn its application for a special-use permit, council clerk Larry Brewer announced. The permit was to be used for a 145-foot cellular phone tower, but the company was able to find an alternate location that did not require the special permit, he said.

* Dan Dudas, an East Toledo man hurt severely when his car hit a stopped train in May, petitioned council to hold public hearings on the safety of the Woodford Street grade crossing, where the accident occurred.

Court decision axes hearing on Redfield case; School board wasn’t told, lawyers say

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 21

MONROE — A Monroe County Circuit Court judge issued a temporary restraining order Friday afternoon to stop the Michigan Tenure Commission from hearing the case against suspended principal Dean Redfield until criminal proceedings against him are completed, attorneys said.

Attorneys for the Bedford school board said they were never alerted about Friday’s hearing. They plan to contest the ruling this week.

Mr. Redfield, 50, principal of Jackman Road Elementary School, was suspended in January and later charged in Monroe County with three counts of criminal sexual conduct involving three first graders at the school. He faces a charge of gross sexual imposition in Lucas County.

On Aug. 20, the Bedford school board sent administrative charges against Mr. Redfield to the Michigan Tenure Commission, which could decide that there is cause to fire him.

On Wednesday, a hearing will determine if the temporary restraining order becomes permanent. If it is upheld, the order will likely postpone the tenure hearing until at least February. Mr. Redfield’s trial in Lucas County is scheduled to start on Dec. 1. His charges in Monroe County will be tried Feb. 9.

The order was handed out after a day of judicial musical chairs, when the motion was considered in the courts of all three Monroe County Circuit Court judges.

Tim Churchill, Mr. Redfield’s attorney, said Judges Michael LaBeau and William LaVoy both disqualified themselves from the case – Judge LaBeau because of his friendship with Mr. Redfield and Judge LaVoy because he will preside over Mr. Redfield’s criminal trial. At about 5 p.m., Mr. Churchill said, Judge Joseph Costello agreed to take the case.

Bill Blaha, attorney for the school board, said he was never informed about the hearing, however. At about 3:30 p.m., he said, he was told by the clerk of court’s office that all three judges would disqualify themselves from the case and that a visiting judge would be brought in to hear the motion “sometime early next week,” he said.

As a result, no attorneys for the school board were present at the hearing, which took place at about 5:30 p.m., after normal court hours.

Mr. Blaha said there was no need for an “emergency” issuance of the order in this case. Mr. Church ill said Mr. Blaha should have known about the hearing.

Mr. Blaha said he will file papers in court tomorrow morning asking that the order be reversed.

Ujvagi has votes to be president, colleagues say; Caucus shows backing for him to lead council

By Joshua Benton and Tom Jewell
Blade Staff Writers

Page 13

Peter Ujvagi has assembled enough pledges of support – if they stand – to elect him president of Toledo’s next council, some of his fellow council members revealed last night.

The disclosure was made after a private caucus of seven members of next year’s council and two Lucas County Democratic Party operatives Thursday at party headquarters.

“Everyone there was supportive of Mr. Ujvagi,” said District 5 council member Tina Skeldon Wozniak, one of the participants.

With those seven votes – along with the support of District 3 Councilman Bob McCloskey, who did not attend the meeting – Mr. Ujvagi would tally enough ballots to win the presidency of the 12-member council on Jan. 2.

Six council members are elected from districts and six serve at-large.

“Between the people there and others I’ve talked to, I think the votes are shaping up for Peter Ujvagi,” said Paula Ross, the party’s executive director, who was at the meeting.

“I’m going to continue to work and to talk to the other council members and hopefully garner their support,” Mr. Ujvagi said last night.

“I learned long ago not to count your votes until they’re in.”

Also at the 1 1/2-hour session were current at-large council members Peter Gerken, C. Allen McConnell, and Mr. Ujvagi; District 6 council member Jeanine Perry; newcomers Wilma Brown, of District 1, and at-large member Louis Escobar, both elect ed to their first terms on Nov. 4, and George Davis, Jr., the party’s vice chairman.

The meeting was called to flesh out the role of council president, a job that is second in the city only to the mayor’s.

The position was created with the city’s charter changes in 1993, and has been held by only two people – at-large Councilman Gene Cook, who is retiring from the legislative body, and state Rep. Jack Ford (D., Toledo).

“We needed to discuss the definition of the president’s responsibilities, what his role would be,” Mr. Escobar said.

Under the city charter, the president sets the council agenda, selects chairmen for committees, and decides who is allowed to speak at council’s bi-weekly meetings.

Should Mayor Carty Finkbeiner not be able to finish his four-year term, the council president automatically assumes the mayor’s post.

About midway through the meeting, members were polled informally about their choices for the presidency, according to Mr. Escobar, and each said Mr. Ujvagi had their vote.

Mr. Ujvagi, who won more votes than any other Toledo candidate in the November election, runs E&C Manufacturing, a small East Toledo business.

Some of his opponents for the president’s position had questioned whether he would have time to be council president while running a small company.

Members attending Thursday’s meeting said they were confident Mr. Ujvagi would have the time necessary for the job.

“We were looking for someone who could make a commitment to the time needed,” Mr. Escobar said.

“There will be certain days that he’ll be available, and he’ll be available for two or three hours before each council meeting,” he said.

Mr. McConnell, who along with Mr. Gerken had been considered Mr. Ujvagi’s main competition for the post, said one of the reasons he attended the meeting was to assess his support.

If at least seven other council members are planning to vote for Mr. Ujvagi, Mr. McConnell said, “There is no way I could be council president.”

Mr. Gerken could not be reached for comment last night.

Republicans Rob Ludeman, who represents District 2, and at-large Councilman Gene Zmuda, along with Democrat Betty Shultz, an at-large council member, all had expressed interest in the council presidency.

Mrs. Shultz was invited to Thursday’s meeting but did not attend.

Mr. McCloskey said he was never invited directly but noted that was because he “made it clear up front that I am going to support Peter Ujvagi.”

District 4 council member Edna Brown, a registered Democrat, was not invited because the party considers her an Independent, she said.

The two outgoing Democrats on council – June Boyd, who lost to Wilma Brown in this month’s election, and Mr. Cook – did not attend the meeting.

Neither did either of the council’s two Republicans.

“If they wanted to discuss the vice mayor, it would be appropriate to include all councilmen,” Mr. Zmuda said.

“I hope it doesn’t foreshadow that the council will become more partisan.”

Before the 1993 charter change, there was no president of council but rather a vice mayor, a mostly ceremonial post.

Ohio’s open meetings laws prevent a majority of a city’s council members – in Toledo’s case, seven of 12 – from gathering in private to discuss or take action on council issues.

But at Thursday’s meeting, only five council members were present.

Mr. Escobar and Ms. Brown will not take office until Jan. 2, so the seven total councilmen-elect were not in violation of the law, Ms. Ross said.

“The things we are generally careful about are having actual majorities and decision making,” she said.

“We’re very careful about those.”

Mrs. Perry said the meeting followed both the letter and the intent of the law.

“I’m comfortable that the discussion we were having did not violate the spirit of the law,” she said.

Mr. McConnell, a lawyer, said he checked with the city’s law department a few weeks ago and was told a meeting like Thursday’s would not violate the state’s open meetings laws.

Ms. Ross said no decisions were made at the meeting, but Mr. Escobar said the group settled on the length of Mr. Ujvagi’s term of office.

“We decided that it would be a two-year term, and then Peter would be up for election again if he didn’t do a good job,” Mr. Escobar said.

Mayor Finkbeiner, a Democrat, said he looks forward to working with Mr. Ujvagi.

“I think Peter Ujvagi will be an excellent council president,” he said.

“I’ve known Peter since we sat together as freshman councilmen in 1980, and I admire his knowledge of neighborhood, grass-roots politics,” Mayor Finkbeiner said. “He has an excellent vision of what Toledo needs to do to move forward.”

Mr. Ujvagi declined to discuss the meeting in detail.

“There were some people who met, some of the Democrats who have been re-elected to council,” he said. “These people have been talking to each other about where council should go, how council will work.”

In 1985 and 1987, Mr. Ujvagi was the top vote-getter when all councilmen were elected on an at-large basis.

But he was denied the vice mayor’s job both times.

Ms. Ross noted that Mr. Ujvagi’s support could change between now and the vote.

“It isn’t a done deal until January,” she said.

3 groups selected for casinos in Detroit

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 1

DETROIT — For three groups hoping to open casinos in downtown Detroit, yesterday was like hitting the jackpot.

Mayor Dennis Archer announced the three applicants – Atwater/Circus Circus, Greektown, and MGM Grand – that will be allowed to apply for the city’s three casino licenses.

“These groups have all shown commitment to helping revitalize our city’s downtown,” he said.

A proposal from Mirage Resorts, while “simply outstanding,” was eliminated from contention, Mr. Archer told a packed 13th-floor auditorium in the City-County Building downtown.

When the winners were announced, the auditorium’s lower half – filled with city and casino-group officials – responded with uproarious applause and a standing ovation. In the upper tier, however, there was jeering and heckling from African-Americans upset that none of the casinos will be majority-owned by blacks.

Detroit is 76 per cent black.

“It is very disappointing that, in 1997, black people still can not achieve ownership in this city,” said Paul Taylor, a member of The Community Coalition, a group that has called for black casino ownership.

On Nov. 7, Mr. Archer eliminated three applicants from further consideration for licenses, one of them a group led by Detroit cable magnate Don Barden, who is African-American. Supporters of Mr. Barden’s efforts have called Mr. Archer, who is also black, an “Uncle Tom” and a “sell-out.”

The Community Coalition is planning a rally Monday afternoon to protest the choice of finalists. At a planning meeting this week, the group drew more than 2,500 people, member Mary Ann Moss said.

The decision allows the three groups to begin negotiations with the city for development agreements. Once those are drafted, they must be approved by Detroit’s city council and reviewed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

The mayor estimated that the agreements could be brought before council by the end of February.

The winning proposals are from:

* Atwater/Circus Circus, a joint venture between a Detroit group led by Herb Strather and Circus Circus, the Las Vegas-based gaming giant. Mr. Strather, who is black, has been called a “sell-out” by some African-Americans for joining forces with Circus Circus, but Mr. Archer defended the move, recalling the adage: “A significant percentage of something is worth more than 100 per cent of nothing.”

The proposed complex includes a 26-story hotel and, the group said, will provide 3,800 jobs and $87.5 million of payroll annually.

* Greektown, a joint venture between a group of businessmen based in the Detroit neighborhood and the Sault Ste. Marie tribe of Chippewa Indians. The tribe runs five casinos in northern Michigan.

Their casino – the only one for which a site has been selected, in the Greektown neighborhood – would include two hotel buildings over 40 stories tall and create 4,000 new jobs, officials said.

* MGM Grand, owners of the Las Vegas casino of the same name. One of its principal investors is William Pickard, Mr. Archer’s college roommate. If built, the $700-million MGM Grand casino in Detroit would include 11 restaurants, create 3,500 jobs, and create $88 million of payroll each year.

Children Services gets U.S. honor for adoption excellence

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 25

In America today, a child placed in foster care waits an average of 14 months before finding an adoptive home.

In Lucas County, the average wait is 8 1/2 months.

That performance has earned the county’s Children Services Board an award from the federal government.

At a White House ceremony yesterday, CSB received the Adoption 2002 Excellence Award for its efforts in decreasing the time a child waits for adoption.

“We’ve been very aggressive in our efforts to give children a permanent home,” said agency spokesman Bob Sweeney.

The board will place about 200 children into adoptive homes this year – more than in any other county in the state. Mr. Sweeney gave credit to CSB’s employees.

“We have a very aggressive staff, a staff that’s very caring and wants to see children get into permanent homes,” he said.

An independent study released in September had similar praise for the agency’s adoption record.

“[CSB’s] performance in achieving permanency for children represents a level other agencies across the country strive to attain,” the report, prepared by a New York-based consulting firm, said.

President Clinton presented the award at a ceremony during which he signed legislation aimed at speeding up the adoption process.

Council frustrated by ‘shifting’ Jeep costs

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 21

At 2:30 p.m. yesterday, Toledo council believed the city would put about $38.4 million into keeping Jeep.

By 5 p.m., though, that number had increased by more than $2.7 million.

That’s because the initial projections created by Finkbeiner administration officials left out key costs the city will have to pay, council members said.

“It’s frustrating when you’re trying to get a handle on a huge project like this to have the costs keep shifting,” said council member Edna Brown.

The discovery of the shortfall at a meeting of council’s economic development and planning committee came about gradually.

At the meeting’s outset, David Wallace, the city’s point man on the Jeep project, quoted his best estimate on the city’s costs as $38,375,000.

Within a few minutes, council member Betty Shultz asked a question about a $2 million state grant being used as part of the Jeep package.

Jim Phillips, a city finance department official, pointed out that the grant required matching funds from the city – about $2.1 million, he said.

That $2.1 million had not been included in the city’s cost estimate because the city had not confirmed the exact sum it would be expected to pay, he said.

A few minutes later, Ms. Brown inquired about a figure in one of the handouts that Mr. Wallace distributed at the start of the meeting.

It estimated the total cost to the city to be $38,950,000 – $575,000 more than the total presented at the meeting’s start.

Mr. Wallace replied that the lower, earlier figure was a summary of funding sources the city had identified, but Toledo eventually must commit the higher sum to the project.

Later in the meeting, Mr. Wallace said an additional, undetermined amount might be needed to help relocate the 15 businesses that will be moved when the city buys their property to make room for the expanded Stickney Avenue plant.

“I’ve heard [cost estimate] numbers much higher than the ones being presented today,” Ms. Shultz said. “We’ve got to know the real, baseline numbers.”

Grants to help groups freshen neighborhoods

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 17

Twelve community groups are richer today, thanks to grants from the Community Partnership Neigh borhood Matching Grant Program.

City leaders hope the neighborhoods that the groups represent soon will be richer too.

“These grants will put a fresh face on Toledo’s neighborhoods,” Mayor Carty Finkbeiner said.

The grants, which total $50,000 and come from federal grant money, are aimed at beautifying Toledo’s neighborhoods and protecting historic districts.

The biggest winners were the Housing East Redevelopment Corp. and the Toledo Central City Neighborhoods Community Development Corp., both of which received $10,000.

Housing East will use the money to support an educational project with the Toledo Public Schools. Vocational students are putting their classroom knowledge to work, building a $100,000 house on Taylor Road in East Toledo.

The central-city group will use the grant to fund legal actions against 12 properties considered public nuisances. If successful, the properties’ owners will be required to invest money into repairing their lots or risk forfeiture.

Community leaders said the grant money will provide momentum to worthy projects that have suffered for a lack of funding.

For example, Toledo Olde Towne Community Organization, which works in a central-city neighborhood just north of downtown, will use its $5,000 to paint 10 homes on Delaware Avenue in the spring.

The organization tried similar painting programs before but had to abandon them for lack of funds.

In the northern Old West End, the city’s money will show itself in the form of well-lit houses.

A $5,000 grant to the Old West End Renaissance Area will help fund Lights On, Crime Out, a program that will provide 200 homes with low-cost motion-detecting lights to discourage burglars.

“We’re very, very excited,” said Robbie Tucker, the group’s chairman. “This is a project we’ve been working on for years.”

The lights normally cost $75 each, but a deal with Toledo Edison lowered the cost to $50 apiece.

Yesterday’s grant will lower the cost to homeowners to $25.

The $2,500 grant won by the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority will be used to expand its community garden program citywide. Residents of housing projects can now grow much of their own food in the gardens.

“I think it’s fantastic,” said LMHA’s Mary Burnett. “The city would rather see food and flowers growing than weeds.”

Mr. Finkbeiner said the grants’ emphasis on beautification will raise property values and bring newcomers to neighborhoods.

“Putting a nice face on a neighborhood encourages people already living there to stay there and encourages people thinking of moving in to do it,” he said.

“We really couldn’t be more pleased with the leadership the central city is developing,” he said. “I know where I won the election – … in the central city.”

The funds are coming from a federal block grant for community development. This is the first year the city distributes that money through this program, which is modeled on similar ones in Seattle and Cleveland.

Lost medal replaced; Soldier earned cross in the ‘Great War’

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 17

In 26 days, the war that was supposed to “end all wars” would be over.

But for the moment, army Cpl. Elvin Pierson had a job to do. It was Oct. 16, 1918, and phone lines connecting the infantry in the trenches to the artillery behind them had been severed. Without coordination, American shells could end up hitting U.S. soldiers.

So Corporal Pierson became a human telephone, relaying messages between the two groups. Dashing through a haze of bullets and shells, he ran from trench to trench across the battlefield, always in the open, always a clear shot for German soldiers.

He did it four times. And yesterday, 37 years after his death, the award he earned was replaced.

Mr. Pierson’s two surviving child ren received the Distinguished Service Cross from U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) at a Veterans Day ceremony at De Veaux Junior High School.

“This just feels wonderful,” said daughter Patricia Doerr, 69. “I wanted to be able to show this medal to my grandkids.”

It was the second time an official presented the medal to Mr. Pierson. He received one just after World War I ended, but a family member lost it a few years later.

Men of the Pierson family fought in the Revolutionary and Civil wars, and Mr. Pierson joined their ranks just a few months after he graduated from Cornell University in 1917.

It was when the war was coming to a close when his bravery was ultimately tested. Germany had, less than two weeks earlier, sent American leaders their initial offer of peace, the offer that, in substantially the same form, would be accepted on Nov. 11, 1918.

But the promise of a coming peace did not mean the fighting got any less bloody in what was then called the Great War, and on Oct. 16, Corporal Pierson was in the thick of it.

He was in Bois de le Grand Montagne, a small French forest north of Verdun. When someone – a daring German, a stray bullet – severed the communication lines, he made his daring runs.

When he got home in one piece, his government honored his efforts with the medal, the second highest award a soldier can receive. He became an engineer, started a family – sons, Robert, who died in 1931; Richard, who died in 1994, and William, 65, and daughter, Patricia – and settled down.

Then one day, one of his sons took the medal to school – and lost it.

“We’re not sure which son did it,” said William, whose alibi is that, as the youngest son, he wasn’t born yet.

Growing up, Mrs. Doerr and Mr. Pierson thought they’d never see the medal again; they knew it only from photos. The family had lots of memorabilia from the war, including a certificate that came with the cross, signed by Gen. John J. Pershing. But not the medal.

Elvin Pierson died in 1960.

In 1995, Mrs. Doerr saw an article in The Blade that mentioned an address relatives of veterans could write for replacement medals.

She wrote a letter in March, then another in July, but got no reply. The process can take two years, in part because a fire at a St. Louis warehouse 20 years ago destroyed millions of military records, making the job of proving someone a medal winner a slow, arduous one.

It was only when Mr. Pierson contacted Miss Kaptur’s office last December that the Defense Department began to react, he said.

The ceremony was held at De Veaux before a student audience to increase children’s interest in Veterans Day. Some say the holiday has declined as veterans grow older and more children are born into a nation that has been at peace for their entire lives.

“I want to help inspire the children of peace to understand the sacrifices made by these men and women,” Miss Kaptur said.

“These kids all think war is like John Wayne and Rambo, and what they see on TV,” said Bob Mettler, administrator for the Lucas County Veterans Service Commission, who attended the ceremony. “They need to hear the real story.”

But the quest for the medal is not over for the Pierson family.

Minutes after receiving the replacement, Mr. Pierson flipped it over and read the inscription: “Elvin I. Pierson.”

His father’s name was Elvin L. Pierson.

The medal will be returned to Washington for re-engraving.

Four hurt in fight at fashion show

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 25

A fight broke out at a Central Catholic High School fashion show sponsored by the Afro-American Club last night, leaving at least three police officers and one spectator injured. Several spectators were arrested.

The officers were treated for bloody noses, injured knees and wrists, and facial lacerations.

One girl was taken to a local hospital when she began hyperventilating during the melee.

The incident began about 9:45 p.m., when two members of the audience – which security personnel estimated was about 1,000 strong – started fighting during a party immediately after the conclusion of the show.

Four police officers were called to assist the three private guards at the school.

“The officers responded, and they were starting to get assaulted,” Sgt. Tom Kosmyna said. “It got completely out of control.”

The officers called for backup, and dispatchers sent all available units. At least 35 officers arrived and began to move the audience outside, where several pockets of fighting broke out in the parking lot and on neighboring streets.

John Algee, a religious studies teacher who was on the stage when the fight broke out, said the initial quartet of officers brought the situation under control and that the remaining units were brought in only for crowd control.