By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR — Several students at Truman High School will soon face a board of education expulsion hearing in the wake of a hallway fight that involved up to six girls and sent one to the hospital.
School officials confirmed that several girls were involved in a fight Monday and were placed on indefinite suspension pending an expulsion hearing.
Principal Melissa Skopczynski said some media reports were “inaccurate” in portraying the administration’s passive role in the matter.
“We have a very safe building,” Skopczynski said. “This was an isolated incident where two girls decided to solve their problems in a violent manner.”
A local TV station had reported that one of the girls involved had told Skopczynski that she’d been bullied by one or more other students, and that the principal said nothing could be done unless or until a fight happened.
“That is not the policy,” Skopczynski said. “We have programs in place for those kinds of incidents. Our goal is to keep students in school to learn how to resolve their problems. If a fight does break out we’ll follow the code of conduct and takes steps to work through it.”
Skopczynski said fights among students are an unfortunate reality, but that Truman works with Wayne Mediation and the state’s Safe and Supportive Schools grant-funded program to prevent violent resolutions before they happen. Suspensions at Truman have been reduced by 25 percent from last year, Skopczynski said, as have disciplinary issues.
“Many students were upset that we were portrayed that way in the media,” Skopczynski said. Teachers and administrators follow state and county recommendations when an issue is brought to them by students.
Taylor Public Schools Supt. Diane Allen said the build up to the fight had taken place among students and away from the high school.
“The situation escalated over the weekend through the use of social media,” Allen said. “This was unknown to the staff who responded appropriately once a fight broke out. This was an isolated incident and not a regular occurrence.”
Reportedly a girl had been attacked by “four or five” other students, one of whom assaulted her with a combination lock. Skopczynski confirmed that the girl had been treated at the hospital for head injuries.
“It was fully investigated,” Skopczynski said. “All parties involved are going to an expulsion hearing. We do not tolerate that kind of activity.”
(James Mitchell can be reached at [email protected].)