‘Fight club’ draws ‘multiple suspensions’ at Junior High

Sean C. Morgan

Sweet Home Junior High suspended a total of 19 students earlier this month after they participated in consensual fights and recorded video of the fights.

“We had multiple suspensions,” said district Supt. Tom Yahraes. “We became aware of students participating in disorderly conduct and fighting. As we looked into it, it was consensual but nevertheless unsafe and dangerous. Also, we learned that students were participating in the filming of this behavior.”

School officials acted swiftly and decisively in accordance with school policies on student conduct, Yahraes said.

A staff member had reported the behavior a couple of weeks ago, Yahraes said. The next day, officials began investigating and meeting with students and parents.

“These behaviors happened on school time and on school grounds,” Yahraes said. “The students found loopholes in our supervision. As a result, we have gone back and corrected our supervision of our students. That’s our responsibility to do, as well as to sponsor a culture at the Junior High that wants to not participate in behaviors that are unsafe.”

Sweet Home police remained uninvolved, and the school handled the situation, said Police Chief Jeff Lynn. “We determined it was not necessarily criminal activity.”

School staff want to continue to cultivate a culture that is respectful, responsible and safe toward all, Yahraes said.

“We want to be known at the Junior High for our academic programs, for our community service, for our opportunities to get into positive after-school activities and not the makings of a fight club.

“We have a great staff. We have great parents. We have a great community. We want the focus on those things we’re doing together. We realize kids make mistakes. It’s not the end of the world. We help them. We pick them back up, and we move forward.”