Student Fights At Toki Middle School Posted Online

Disturbing video showing girls engaged in vicious fights on the Toki Middle School grounds popped up on the popular Web site YouTube.
The video, which was posted on April 19, featured a fight between girls outside the school and one from inside the building.
Madison police confirmed that they responded to fights at Toki on Thursday, April 17 and one on Friday, April 18, but can’t say whether the fights were the same ones posted online.
“School staff are very aware not only of the videos, but of the things that happened,” said Madison Superintendent Art Rainwater. “The students have been identified and are being dealt with through the discipline system in the ways that are appropriate for what the incident was.”
That discipline could include suspension. Rainwater said the incidents are so new the discipline process is still ongoing.
The incidents come one month after extra security was added to the school in the form of an additional security guard and a dean of students to deal specifically with problematic students.
The additional safety measure came at the request of Toki parents who felt the school was unsafe with escalating violence all year.

More from Kathleen Masterson.

5 thoughts on “Student Fights At Toki Middle School Posted Online”

  1. Toki’s school climate has been headed in the wrong direction for three years since Principal Mary Kelly moved to another MMSD middle school. I know from experience because my oldest child attended Toki during her tenure. Principal Kelly was respected by staff, parents and students at Toki. School climate and safety was much better. Unfortunately, the principal and assistant principal that took over for two years weren’t, in my personal opinion, up to the task of administering a large middle school. My youngest child attended Toki during those two lackluster years. He saw many things that he shouldn’t have ever seen. I’m saddened by the news of the continued decline in student behavior. Now, the new principal has her hands full! Hopefully, something can be done to turn things around before it is too late. The new superintendent and BOE will need to get a handle on these types of situations or suffer the consequences of losing the support of loyal parents and taxpayers.

  2. I am also saddened by this development at Toki, but I also see a positive aspect to it. The District is finally starting to admit that there may be a problem, and that something should be done about it. I found it interesting that some of the old guard at the District seemed more concerned that the videographer didn’t get the permission of those in the video than it was that a violent fight was taking part on school grounds. I think that the tide is turning with recent actions by the board, and I even actually recently heard two board members admit that there is a problem and that something needs to be done. This wouldn’t have happened a year ago.
    I challenge anyone reading this blog to get involved in the schools so we can help solve this problem. The students need positive adult role models besides just the teachers. Get involved and help solve this problem.

  3. Arlene Silveira and I joined Asst. Supt Pam Nash and district security officer Luis Yudice at a parent-staff meeting in March. Since then, a number of changes were put into place. Some – additional security guard and dean of students, security audit, etc. – were put in place within 36 hours of the meeting.
    Other changes are under development. For example, a committee of staff and administrators are updating and revising the school code of conduct while the existing code is being enforced with new determination.
    I believe that long standing issues with locker room design are being addressed this summer as a result of the March meeting.
    Rick is right. Everyone has a responsibility to get involved. Everyone has a role to play in working together to ensure positive change.
    One other note – we all might want to consider how the students and staff at Toki feel about the way that their school and its school community are being characterized. We live in a time and in a media community that, unfortunately, goes for the negative and salacious. Yes, the videos were awful, shocking, etc. They also involved less than ten kids in a very large middle school. The kids who are there, who are achieving, and striving, and working hard, are not helped when we accept the behavior of a small fraction of the students as the behavior of the whole.
    Let’s also support students and staff as part of our concern for the well-being of the school.

  4. I would like to remind everyone that this is not just a problem for those of you who have children at Toki, all Middle Schools are having the same issues, and all these kids are going to be coming together in an even larger environment soon. This has to be seen as a larger issue and treated as a community problem.

  5. I’m happy to tell you that not all middle schools are having this problem. However, in any given school, there will be a few kids who aren’t in control 100% of the time. They are dealt with accordingly. After a long period of unrest, Black Hawk has been very mellow the past 4 years. Thanks Alan Harris and Mary Kelly and all of our great staff! And thanks to the parents who are guiding their middle schoolers through this part of life!

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