HAVERHILL, MASS. (WHDH) - Educators at Haverhill High School will now take phones away from students who are caught recording fights that break out inside the building after a staffer was recently injured when they attempted intervene in a large fracas.

A lunchroom brawl last week, along with a string of smaller scuffles, prompted the Haverhill School Committee to adopt a zero-tolerance policy on student use of cell phones during fights.

“The kids that do take video of the fights get held accountable, like with detention and suspensions,” HHS student Samantha Rodriguez said.

The school committee voted unanimously on Thursday night to seize phones belonging to any student who is caught videotaping fights.

About 15 fights involving 44 students have broken out at the high school since September, according to statistics cited by education officials.

Haverhill is also hiring more security guards and school resource officers.

One parent in favor of forming a peer mediation program to resolve disputes said the school’s “toxic” environment has prevented students from expressing themselves.

“It’s more than a toxic environment. When kids are out here and they’re not able to express themselves with proper communication, they’re out here fighting one another,” the parent said.

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini insisted that the policy go into effect immediately.

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