A fight in a GMHS classroom in early December

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By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

Another fight broke out at Groveport Madison High School.

According to Groveport Police Lt. Josh Short, on Dec. 5, three to four male students allegedly assaulted another male student in a classroom.

“We are being told that this fight was in retaliation for a fight that occurred off school property during or after the varsity basketball game on Dec. 2,” said Short, who added the case remains under investigation.

He said there were no guns or weapons involved and no injuries were reported at the time of the incident.

According to Short, three male students were charged with disorderly conduct for the initial fight. Another male student was charged with disorderly conduct for attempting to fight with the three males students. A female was arrested for obstructing official business and resisting arrest when she attempted to stop the school resource officer from arresting one of the male students.

“The school resource officer and school staff are still investigating the incident and additional charges are expected,” said Short. “I cannot speak to what discipline the school will levy.

Strict process dictates discipline
“From my observations there is an issue in the high school when it comes to basic every day respect, decorum, and discipline,” said Short. “A simple walk through will give you the distinct impression that the students are running the building. I would never have behaved in such a manner when I navigated the halls of Groveport Madison High School back in the 1990s.”

However, Short added that what concerned district parents need to take a look at is the laws and regulations that the Ohio state legislature and state board of education have put in place that dictates specifically how school district administrators can discipline.

“Parents are mistaken if they believe that a district can simply just suspend or expel a student whenever and for whatever they want,” said Short. “There is a very strict process that districts must follow and, as with most bureaucracy, it is not timely. This becomes even more problematic with a student that has an individual education plan making ‘regular’ forms of discipline even more difficult to attain. There is certainly a significant divide between what parents think should happen and what actually can happen. We feel the same frustration on the law enforcement side when we criminally charge a student in one of these significant violent incidents and the juvenile court metes our virtually no consequence.”

Safety committee established
In light of several recent incidents of discipline problems, fights, and the possession of guns by students at the high school, district officials are taking steps to improve security and safety.

One thing among the many safety improvements being pursued is the creation of a safety committee. According to district officials, approximately 25 parents, staff members, students, and other officials joined Deputy Superintendent Paul Smathers at the new safety committee’s first meeting recently. The group will meet monthly to discuss various safety-related issues throughout the school district.
Information from the meetings will be posted online at www.gocruisers.org/SafetySecurity.aspx

Safety hotline
Students and adults can anonymously share information with school officials and law enforcement about threats to student safety by calling or texting to 844-SaferOH (844-723-3764). Calls are answered by the Ohio Homeland Security’s Threat Assessment and Prevention Unit. When action is needed, the TAP Unit immediately notifies school officials, law enforcement agencies and others, if necessary.

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