More than a dozen students were suspended, and at least two were arrested and sent to Juvenile Hall this week after a brawl broke out at North High, school officials confirmed to The Californian.
The fight Wednesday was one of at least eight that took place at both Centennial and North high schools this week, district officials said, prompting extra security to be put in place Friday.
“It was very, very calm today,” North High School Principal Mark Balch said.
But Wednesday was another story.
As two students were passing each other in the hallway, one challenged the other to a fight, Balch said. They began to exchange blows when safety officers broke them up within a few moments.
Then as a safety officer was escorting one boy away in the quad, a third boy shouted, “I heard you got into it in C Hall,” referring to a building on campus. That’s when the first boy broke away from the safety officer and began fighting with the third boy, Balch said.
From there, multiple students got involved. Balch described it as “a larger than normal fight.”
More than a dozen students were suspended and won’t return until after the Thanksgiving break. At least two students were arrested and taken to Juvenile Hall, Balch said. One of them took a swing at a campus safety officer.
“We’re not going to tolerate that,” Balch said.
Another student fight was reported Thursday at North High, according to an after-hours email provided by Lisa Krch, spokeswoman for the school district. No other details were immediately available.
It’s also unclear whether students were suspended at Centennial High, where at least five fights broke out Wednesday and Thursday. District officials did not return a call to The Californian seeking comment.
There were no fights reported Friday at either school. Both Centennial and North had additional security and KHSD police on campus to ensure student and staff safety, according to Krch's email.
At North High, campus safety officers, a dean, two assistant principals and the on-campus police officer reviewed any recordings they could gather to determine if all students involved were identified.
Balch said he’s unsure of what caused the fight or whether it’s connected to recent skirmishes at Centennial, even as multiple media outlets have reported rumors that fights were racially motivated.
“I have no idea what sparked it,” Balch said. “That’s the part we can’t figure out. We’re trying to understand what this was. Was there a deeper meaning behind this?”
When those students involved in the fight do return to campus, they’ll take part in a restorative circle, part of the district’s adoption of a newly adopted disciplinary system called Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.
Before the two students who instigated the fight come back to school, they’ll sit down in a room together, talk out their problems and create an agreement, Balch said.
“We don’t want to take students on suspension for fighting return without having intervention,” Balch said. “In the meantime, we’re making sure the issues don’t persist.”
Debbie Sacks, an educational consultant with Collaborative Learning Solutions, which has assisted the district in its transition to a restorative practice model, said she’s seen students who have come to blows before take part in such restorative circles and that it’s not uncommon for them to resolve their conflicts.
“The ultimate goal is to bring kids to restoration and create a calm and safe environment on campus and work with the kids to let them know they probably have more in common than they think,” Balch said. “There’s probably more common ground to find working together than to continue fighting.”