A physical altercation between adults disrupted a promotion ceremony for hundreds of T.R. Smedberg Middle School eighth-graders at the Sheldon High School stadium Friday morning, triggering calls to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, authorities said.
A spokeswoman for the Elk Grove Unified School District, Xanthi Pinkerton, said the ceremony continued after the 10:10 a.m. scuffle. The incident left two men with minor injuries and resulted in Sheldon High School Principal Paula Duncan being shoved while she tried to break up the fight.
Sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. Lisa Bowman said deputies working as security resource officers for the Elk Grove district issued misdemeanor citations to Jesse Madeiros, 19, and Jeremy Rhodes, 40. Both were cited for fighting on school grounds and “willful disturbance” at a public school.
The ceremony had 552 eighth-graders and about 1,500 onlookers, according to a letter that Principal Richard Wall sent to Smedberg parents after the confrontation.
Officers responding to the episode reported that the fight started when words were exchanged over one of the men blocking others by taking a photograph.
“It’s bad enough when there are sporting events and parents get involved,” Bowman said. “But, c’mon, this is a way for kids to go out on a good note.”
Pinkerton said the fight apparently broke out after one man asked another man to move during the ceremony.
“The other man did not appreciate the request,” she said.
Pinkerton said one man was treated at the scene and the other sought hospital care.
“The students were very well behaved,” she said. “They were there for their promotion. Unfortunately, the spotlight was taken away from them.”