Any school fight merits punishment

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 22, 2003

&uot;We’re not going to put up with it. We’re sending a message that if you fight in school, you’re going (to jail)….&uot;

Those were the words Bill Wheeler, chief deputy in the Northampton County, N.C. Sheriff’s Office, in the wake of a melee that broke out May 14 at Northampton County High School-East involving eight students.

The students, ranging from the ages of 16 to 18, were charged with various offenses including disorderly conduct and assault and were placed under $1,000 bond.

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That’s as it should be.

This makes one question what the difference could have been between this incident and the bench-clearing brawl that erupted during the Lakeland-Deep Creek soccer game earlier this month, in which apparently no charges have been filed.

There is no difference. Both were fights on school property. Northampton County is doing its duty by keeping schools safe and putting students on notice that such behavior will not be tolerated and will be dealt with swiftly and severely. By doing nothing (forcing both teams to forfeit their remaining games is doing nothing), Suffolk is sending the opposite message.

&uot;Most students want to go to school (or participate in athletics for that matter) for all the right reasons,&uot; Wheeler said, &uot;to learn and make something of themselves. Get rid of the handful of problems disrupting things and let the rest learn.&uot;

Well said.