Police in force at high school

Published 12:56 am Saturday, October 27, 2007

VIDALIA — The police presence in Vidalia High School this week was to send a message to would-be instigators of violence, an official said.

After several instances of youth-on-youth violence in the past week, including one incident at the high school, Police Chief Billy Hammers said officers have been at the school to keep an eye on things.

“We’re there to show them that we’re the only gang in town,” Hammers said. “We’re going to shut this down.”

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Tensions have recently developed between two rival youth factions, teens from “uptown” — or north of Carter Street — and “downtown,” south of Vidalia’s main drag.

Though some said the two groups have made distinctions between themselves for years, it is only in recent months the teens have come to fisticuffs.

Student sources said the two factions were supposed to fight at the end of school Friday, but the school day ended without incident.