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Cease-Fire Ordered in Suburban Lunchroom

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It wasn't as bad as "Animal House," but high-school students in one Michigan school district, armed with lunchroom fare, were rivaling the cafeteria melees depicted in the movie spoof about college fraternities.

Food fights in the cafeteria of Grosse Pointe North High School--located in an affluent suburb of Detroit--escalated from four each month in September to four each day in October, when John Kastran, the school's principal, laid down the law: Any student caught tossing food anywhere other than down the hatch was to be suspended for three days, excluded from the cafeteria for two weeks, and required to bring his parents to school for a conference.

The food started flying when Mr. Kastran, who came to the school at the start of this school year, removed two counselors from lunchroom-supervision duty because he thought they could more usefully spend their time counseling pupils. As it turned out, however, the monitors had indeed been spending their time usefully--warding off chaos.

Students threw everything from open milk cartons to unopened cans of fruit juice, Mr. Kastran said. One student bought nearly $6 worth of food specifically to throw. Janitors then cleaned up the resulting mess.

Mr. Kastran noted that the practice of throwing food had been considerably less common at his previous school, located in Mount Clemens, Mich., a district where students' economic backgrounds are more diverse. "In Mount Clemens, we had one food fight in 10 years," the principal said.

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