Police issue petitions after fights

Published 7:47 pm Friday, January 26, 2018

The Suffolk Police Department has filed petitions for students involved in several fights at King’s Fork High School on Thursday.

Petitions, essentially, are arrest warrants for juveniles, according to city spokesman Tim Kelley. He declined to say how many students had been charged.

Police were called to the school for three incidents on Thursday, Kelley said. Suffolk police were also made aware Thursday night of possible additional threats to school safety and “responded appropriately” on Friday, according to Kelley. He declined to say if there was an increased police presence on the campus.

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A News-Herald reader shared videos of several fights with the paper.

One video shows a male student in black jeans and a white T-shirt chasing a student in shorts and a T-shirt down a staircase and beating him on the floor. He is then pulled away by another student near a display case.

Another video, taken outside the school, shows two small groups of students fighting on the sidewalk and the pavement as a school bus approaches.

The fights happened two days after a 15-year-old King’s Fork High School student was found to have a handgun in his possession at the school. He was recommended for expulsion.

The origin of the fights appeared to be “personal conflicts” and not related to the firearm incident, according to Bethanne Bradshaw, spokeswoman for Suffolk Public Schools.

The students involved were disciplined according to policy and picked up by their guardians, according to Bradshaw. No injuries were reported to the school, she added.

According to the school’s policy for fights without injury, “these interventions involve the short-term removal of a student from the school environment due to the severity or chronic nature of the behavior; the suspension from school will not exceed nine days.”

Bradshaw said a routine, random drug dog sweep of the building took place on Monday, and nothing was found.

Dr. Ronald Leigh, King’s Fork’s principal, sent a letter via the PeachJar e-flyer system to parents regarding the week’s incidents.

“Fights are unacceptable and are not tolerated at King’s Fork High School, or any of our schools.

The school and the Suffolk Police will continue to respond appropriately,” Leigh said in the letter.

Leigh acknowledged rumors circulating on social media that more fights and bomb threats would happen on Friday. There were no incidents, according to Bradshaw.

“Today has been a great day at KFHS,” Leigh said in the letter. “This morning, I shared during morning announcements with our students that we would not allow a few students to tarnish the reputation and hard work we have accomplished in our two years together at KFHS. I also shared with them that violent behavior would be punished to the fullest extent possible.”

Bradshaw said the attendance clerk was not in on Friday, so she did not know if attendance was lower than normal. Some parents had considered keeping their children home, according to Facebook posts.

“The principal said attendance seemed normal today,” Bradshaw stated in an emailed response to questions.