Fighting at Lakota West

Fighting at Lakota West

School fights: a topic that always gets a lot of attention.  This is no exception at LWHS.  This hot topic, whenever one occurs, has everyone wanting to talk about it.  Whether it’s being posted on social media or it’s being gossiped about by witnesses, fights always manage to intrigue others and catch their attention. However, the administration’s thoughts and the student body’s are often different. 

There have been quite a few known fights and acts of violence this school year. About three of them have escalated to actual fighting, but most of them were broken up before it got too bad. 

Mrs. Bella, whom we interviewed, expressed that the increase in fights has mostly been attributed to the increase of students in the building. More than 500 students have been added to LWHS; however, the percentage of fights has not really fluctuated due to this increase.

The amount of fighting does not grow nor decrease often —  it is more or less a constant. On the occasion that a fight does occur, the staff or whoever is around usually does whatever they can to break it up nonviolently. 

As for discipline, it is usually determined by the administration with the biggest punishment going to the person (the fighter) who seems to shoulder most responsibility. Thankfully, Lakota West does not take too drastic measures in their policy, as they prefer suspension rather than the more extreme option of taking people out in handcuffs. Nevertheless, discipline is still highly enforced to make sure perpetrators don’t create an unsafe and disruptive environment for others. 

So, why do fights happen? There are many reasons why they could stir up, but whatever the reason, fighting should never be the answer. Most of the time, the issue is that students will fight at school because they are in close proximity with someone they have an issue with. Social media and texting can also create tension, and then when the individuals finally see each other at school, they decide to confront one another. From there on, it’s just a ticking time bomb until the situation unfortunately escalates to where violence occurs. 

Back in 2019,  there was a study to show the frequency of school fights in the American education system. The Department of Education recorded these stats: ”17 percent of students in these grades reported having been in a physical fight anywhere 1 to 3 times, 3 percent reported having been in a physical fight anywhere 4 to 11 times, and 1 percent reported having been in a physical fight anywhere 12 or more times”. (National Center for Education Statistics) 

“We had a stretch where there were a lot of them but I think we did a good job at stopping them,” Principle Bella added.  However, there are only so many adults in the building. Mr.Brown, Mr. Bolden, and Mrs.Bella — plus all the other teachers that usually handle conflicts, can only be in one place at a time. As much as it would be preferred to stop a conflict before it starts, it is much more usual for staff to intervene at a more intense moment. 

So, as a potential alternative to the problem, Mrs. Bella proposed we do what another school had already done, to have dads and other adults of the community come to school every day as a way to combine both the need for less strict discipline and a way to have a more approachable atmosphere and relationship between staff and students. and help with watching all the kids and being extra support/extra help towards the students. It was just a thought and nothing is set in stone but doing that is on the table. 

Fighting is never condoned here at Lakota, but it is unrealistic to expect all to abide by the rules. If you ever get coerced into these actions,  attempt to diffuse the situation and/or find a neutral third party/ superior to avoid a situation of “their word vs mine”. Only as a last resort should self-defense be needed. 

Just remember, actions done in the heat of the moment can lead to regret. Those consequences could also potentially leave a stain on your future, or worse, lead to trouble with authorities. Talking to a counselor or a trusted adult is always recommended and is arguably the safest option. So, what does the student body think? Should violence be combated with more violence, or should there be a harsher policy when it comes to fights? In addition to that, is there a better solution that would improve the handling of the situation?