With Warren County High School taking on the look of the movie “Fight Club” during its first few weeks in session, administrators are enacting tougher rules.
“I feel they have little regard for what we do,” said WCHS executive principal Jimmy Walker of punishment faced by students who fight at school.
Walker said there have been three major fights already this year. Those were fights that had to be broken up by school resource officers and could be considered assault and prosecuted in court should charges be brought by the combatants.
Concerned by the high number of brawls, one of which happened during a junior class assembly, Walker talked to other principals in the region.
“I found out White County had eight fights in the first 15 days of school,” Walker said of the disturbing trend.
The revelation before the Board of Education prompted swift action as both Walker and board members agreed something had to be done.
“My first priority is a safe school,” Walker noted.
Under the new disciplinary policy, those who fight at WCHS will face a 45-day suspension from campus. A second offense could result in a 90-day suspension, and a third fight would see the student permanently expelled from WCHS. Students suspended for fighting would be assigned to Warren Academy where they could continue their education while suspended.
“I think this puts teeth in the policy,” said Director of Schools Bobby Cox.
School system attorney Robin Phillips cautioned against using a broad stroke to cover all incidents.
School officials then amended the policy, requiring fighters be brought before the disciplinary board before being issued punishment. Those who do fight at school are automatically suspended until the board meets to hear their case. While the 45-day and 90-day suspensions are what brawlers could face, the School Board agreed students should be treated on a case-by-case basis.
“Everyone should be treated on the merits of their individual case,” Cox said.