Sun Prairie High School Tightens Fighting Policies

Gena Kittner:blk.

Throwing a punch on high school grounds here will get you arrested, removed from school and in some cases could land you in jail.
After two significant fights at Sun Prairie High School in December, one involving as many as six students, the city’s high school has changed the way it deals with violence at school.
The message came Jan. 4 and 5 over the school’s public address system: If a student is involved in a violent act or there is a substantiated threat of physical violence, he or she will be arrested and removed from the school by Sun Prairie police, Principal Paul Keats said.
Previously, fighting students could be cited by police, but not necessarily removed from the building, he said.

4 thoughts on “Sun Prairie High School Tightens Fighting Policies”

  1. Now that’s zero tolerance!
    I like the idea. Though it could have its pitfalls, careful monitoring could possibly avoid some of them.

  2. For me, a few questions need to be answered before the SP High School policy should be supported.
    First, there is likely to be explicit standards for arrest of juveniles within HS age range, which have been hammered out over the years within the SP Police Department, the DA, the community, and within the U.S legal system.
    I don’t know what that standard is. All these standards must be consulted to determine reasonableness.
    I would also want to know what the standards are for arrest of non-juveniles (adults).
    Then I would want to look in detail at the specific policy language of SP HS. What is the definition of a fight that is supposed to lead to mandatory arrest? What discretion do administrators and teachers have at SP to report student behavior.
    Can a verbal altercation lead to arrest? If a kid of being constantly bullied and harassed, and finally lashes out at tormentors, is that kid arrested and the bullies go free?
    What about “fighting” words? Are kids supposed to just “take it”?
    How will disposition of arrested kids be handled? After a first arrest, the kid then has “priors”. Will the kids then be subject to repeat offender rules? Repeat offender rules can lead kids to be incarcerated as felons for merely a few “typical” brawls. Is this appropriate?
    After all this information is layed open, then the SP HS policy needs to be compared to these other policies.
    I believe it is highly inappropriate, and just plain wrong to agree or disagree with any policy unless and until it has been fully briefed and fully discussed, the full ramifications of implementation considered, and all the facts layed on the table.

  3. Larry,
    You highlight the issues that need to be addressed. There are other pitfalls, too, such as unequal application because of race. In some situations, I can see the arrest being made because a student was a minority and in other cases the arrest not being made because the student was a minority.
    The policy is worth investigating; however, I doubt that it ever makes an agenda of an MMSD school board meeting. Madison’s love affair with political correctness would rule out arrests.

  4. I don’t believe MMSD rules out arrest — though I believe arrests are considered an action of last resort. I don’t believe this is an incorrect policy, unless taken to unreasonable extremes.
    Recent incidents of arrest (of a 17-year old, his mother, and his sibliings at Memorial) indicate there is no policy to rule out arrests. The issues surrounding these arrests still have not been made public — or they were and I missed them.
    When incidents have occurred, such as at Memorial, MMSD often suggests that these students were new to the district and hadn’t been schooled in the behavior that is expected and allowed at MMSD schools, and nor have they been trained to handle conflict in more appropriate ways.
    Obviously, MMSD is working on teaching positive behavior at different levels of intervention, moving to punishment mode when serious.

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