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VIDEO: Kindergarten Graduation Ends in Brawl

A fight among family members at Friendship School in Waterford results in arrests

WATERFORD, CT -- Kindergarten graduations are supposed to be cute but the Waterford Friendship School’s ceremony on June 11 turned downright ugly when a brawl ensued over which parent should have their child’s diploma.

Waterford Police were called to the scene at 11:24 a.m. following reports of a fight in progress in the school lobby. By the time they got there, the warring parties had been separated but police were able to determine that everyone involved was related either by blood or by marriage.

According to police reports, the argument started when the child's mother asked her daughter’s paternal grandmother if she could have a copy of the child’s diploma. Witnesses told police that the child’s father, 24-year-old Ernesto Quinones of 40 Crystal Avenue in New London, took exception to that.

Police stated that Quinones, who has sole custody of the child, responded by grabbing his mother’s purse to prevent her from handing over the diploma. At that point, other family members who had been standing around taking photographs joined the fray.

“A melee ensued in which most or all of the family members began to fight with one another,” the police incident report said. 

The whole fracas was recorded on the school’s surveillance cameras. Police stated that the video shows Ernesto slamming his mother into a concrete wall, but the women weren’t merely the victims in all this. Far from it.

Footage shows one woman, who the police report describes as being five months pregnant, grabbing another by the hair. The pregnant woman ultimately fell to the ground at which point, she told police, she was kicked in the head. 

Police arrested Ernesto Quinones and charged him with breach of peace, with engaging in a fight capable of causing minor injury, and with risk of injury to a child. Police also arrested 20-year-old Felicia Strong of 93 State Pier Road, New London, and 31-year-old Diana Quinones of 40 Crystal Avenue, New London, and charged both women with breach of peace and with engaging in a fight that could cause minor injury.   

Correction: An earlier version of this story based on an incident report in which most of the names had been redacted incorrectly stated that Felicia Strong is the child's mother. Strong is a relative but the child's mother was not among those who were arrested.

Jennifer June 19, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Paul, please give some serious consideration to removing this video. It is an unfortunate situation by young adults who still have much to learn about being grown ups and more...But, there is a child behind this video and my heart hurts for her. You are doing her a diservice by sharing this video and I ask that you remove it. Thank you.
farm guy June 19, 2012 at 09:00 PM
what did Waterford expect when they decidied to create a partnership with New London?
wtfdrez June 20, 2012 at 04:02 PM
These chilldren were actually graduating from the Friendship school itself, so it is a big deal, most of these kids started this school when they were 3 years old, My son went to the school when it first opened and he loved it. I disagree that it is a mistake to have a partnership with New London. There are losers in every single town.
Daniella Ruiz June 24, 2012 at 03:49 PM
i tend to agree with Jen, the video (very nicely done i must admit) reeks of exploitation and sensationalism. as transpired on the school bus with the granny that was ragged on in Greece, NY, it sends poor messages to others regarding what is good content and what is, well, just plain trash. clearly, some of these videographers are seeking a 'high' from their own talented work, while others merely are seeking any means to use other people's pain as a tool for their own benefit.
Jennifer June 24, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Dear Farm Guy...I have had the opportunity to work in both New London and Waterford School Systems and can tell you WITHOUT A DOUBT that incidents like this occur in both Waterford and New London. Your comment reeks of ignorance about what occurs in the town of Waterford!

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