A video that has gone viral online shows a brief fight Wednesday afternoon outside of Long Reach High School in Columbia.
An adult male came on campus at about 2:15 p.m., confronting a male junior student outside of the school's north main doors, according to school officials.
Footage of the fight lasts about 27 seconds, though the confrontation itself was just a few seconds. The adult, who had on a ski mask and appeared to be wearing a blue shirt and dark pants, is standing near the student, who as wearing a light shirt and khakis. Both approach each other with their fists raised.
After a few punches, the person in the blue shirt falls backward and remains motionless. A skirmish ensues between the person in the light shirt and others who were standing nearby watching.
More than half a million people had watched the video on WorldStarHipHop.com as of 2 p.m. Thursday. Principal David P. Burton sent an email to students' families on Thursday afternoon acknowledging the incident.
"We are aware that the incident was taped and that the video has gone viral on the Internet," he wrote. "As always, precautions are being taken to ensure the safety of all students and staff."
Long Reach High staff intervened immediately after the fight, according to school system spokeswoman Patti Caplan. A school resource police officer was on campus at the time and was called to the scene immediately, she said.
"The individual who was knocked out came to and did not want any assistance and left the campus," Caplan said.
Police anticipate filing assault and disorderly conduct charges against the man, who is from Baltimore but whose name will not be released until he is charged, according to county police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn.
An assault charge has been filed against a 15-year-old girl from Columbia for striking the male student, Llewellyn said. Caplan identified the girl as a freshman at the school, and Llewellyn said the girl's guardian is friends with the adult male. Police do not release the names of people who have been charged as juveniles.
The school does not intend to discipline the male student; officials determined that the adult threw the first punch and the boy was acting in self-defense, Caplan said.
School officials said there had been an incident of taunting and french fries being thrown between the female student and other students, though Caplan was not certain when that incident occurred.
"It appeared that this man who came on campus was there to settle things in response to all of that," Caplan said.