After what the principal described as three "fairly dramatic" fights that broke out between a small group of students in the hallways between classes at Brainerd High School this week, school administrators are working with the students and their families to attempt to resolve the tense situation.
Principal Steve Razidlo said the school also has been working closely with the high school police liaison officer and members of the Brainerd Police Department on disciplinary action involved in the situation. He declined to comment on the number of students involved in the conflicts, but said there was some relationship between the students involved in all three fights. A couple of students suffered minor injuries in the fighting.
"This is not our typical week at Brainerd High School," said Razidlo. "It's been very tough and very difficult. ... Thankfully this is not the norm for our school. We have had an atypical week and we're working very, very hard to appropriate discipline because of this."
Razidlo said overall the number of fights at the high school have not increased but have decreased, even with the closed lunch period in which the entire student population must remain at school during that free time. He said school officials do not condone fighting or harassment and they do not take it lightly. The conduct of each student involved in the situation has been reviewed against the school's student conduct policy and punishments or consequences have been issued.
But that does not mean the students have been expelled from the building as a result of the fighting, he said. Razidlo said he doesn't believe it is lawful to remove a student from school for an incidence of fighting, as one Vox Pop writer suggested in this newspaper. He said in the past students have been expelled for situations like fighting, but not in every case.
"We are working toward the safety of all students and at the same time trying to protect the ability for students to get out of trouble and get back to being good students," said Razidlo. "Conflict resolution with teenage students is important and not necessarily easy work."
JODIE TWEED can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5858.
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