Central suspends students after ‘fight club’ matches

QUICKREAD

District 51 policy: no fighting allowed

School District 51 takes a no-tolerance stand on violent and aggressive behaviors by its students. Its policy on violence reads:

“Students exhibiting violent or aggressive behavior or warning signs of future violent or aggressive behavior shall receive appropriate intervention to change behavior before a crisis occurs and shall be subject to disciplinary action when appropriate.

Students shall be taught to report questionable behavior or potentially violent situations to appropriate school officials. All reports shall be taken seriously.

Acts of violence and aggression shall be well documented and communicated by the staff to the building principal and the superintendent. The principal or the principal’s designee shall communicate discipline information concerning any student enrolled in the school to any teacher who has direct contact with the student in the classroom and to any counselor who has direct contact with the student. The immediate involvement of the parents/guardians is essential. Law enforcement officials shall be involved if there is any violation of law.”



The mother of a Central High School student said her son and other students were suspended after a group of about two dozen boys participated in a “fight club” on campus last week.

Three students at the school were injured — one had a concussion, one lost a tooth and another broke a tooth — during the consensual fights, which occurred each day during lunch breaks last week at the school, the woman said.

Fights outside the school and in the gymnasium were broken up by school officials Monday and Tuesday. Fights also occurred Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in the school’s wrestling room until a teacher saw the fighting on Friday and broke it up, the suspended student’s mother, Heidi Chase, said.

“Yes, (the students are) guilty, but I hold the school more accountable, because these students got hurt,” Chase said. “These kids are really lucky. I send my son to school each day thinking he is safe.”

School District 51 spokesman Jeff Kirtland said seven Central High School students on Friday were suspended for fighting. Kirtland declined to provide the length of suspensions or details about the circumstances surrounding the fights, saying it was a disciplinary matter.

“Fighting of any kind is not tolerated,” he said.

Central High School Principal Jody Diers said there was an “isolated incident” on Friday, but she would not comment on it because it involved students.

“We have a no-tolerance stand. Anybody in a fight will be suspended,” Diers said.

Diers said the incident didn’t rise to the level to inform parents and was “taken care of the way any other incident would be taken care of.”

Chase said her 15-year-old son, who is a sophomore, was suspended for three days this week, through the end of today. Chase accompanied her son at school Tuesday so he could attend classes instead of missing class by being at home.

Students who were involved in the fighting Monday and Tuesday were given in-school detention, Chase said. Her son, and possibly the others cited, received court summonses alleging misdemeanor assault, on the grounds they agreed to fight. The boys will have to miss a portion of sports activities as a result of being suspended. Chase said she believed a total of 21 students were suspended.

Talk of the fighting was rampant Tuesday among students at the school, Chase said, as she listened to the chatter while sitting in classes.

Chase said she finds it disturbing that the fighting continued throughout the week. Students who fought apparently were ill-informed by a student who acted as referee that the one-on-one fight matches had been approved by school officials, Chase said.

Chase said she views the school’s actions as an attempt to cover up the incident and wished the school would have notified parents about it.

“If the school would just address it in a newsletter or at an assembly. Let the whole entire school know it wasn’t a good choice,” Chase said. “All in all,  I am very pleased with the respect from the school, but I’m shocked at the cover-up.”


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