School fights: Alarming or not?

Has there actually been a spike in fights this school year?


Alec Shipley

Two students engage in a fight while a third student records. For some students, pulling out their phone to record would be their first instinct if a fight went down. However a majority of students would do the good and try to avoid it. A survey of West students found that 50 percent of students would evade a fight if it were to break out near them.

Alec Shipley, Reporter

Fights and other forms of violence are an unfortunate reality in high schools. Students attempt to settle their problems, usually hurting others and even themselves. You hear about them for a couple days after they occur, and then you never hear about it again. This year since school went back 100 percent, it seems to both students and staff that there has been a spike in the amount of fights. That brings up the question, has there actually been a spike in fights?

According to a survey conducted by Beak ‘n’ Eye staff of 188 students and staff found that 76.1 percent are aware of the fights occurring at West. Although there is not a clear reasoning for fights in high school, some students like junior Patrick Devine have drawn conclusions for what sparks one.

188 West High students were surveyed to reveal their thoughts on the violence occurring or not within the walls of West. (Piktochart)

“Rumors start the fights,” Devine said. “And I believe that there is more drama this year than last year.”

When a fight occurs at West, most students hear about who was involved and who “won,” and it is the talk of the school. Students like senior Allie Young have been around the block at West and has seen her fair share of fights and other acts of violence, and points out another problem that school fights bring.

“It’s going to be like the he said, she said situation if you let [students involved] talk,” Young said.

Although the fights are more noticeable this year considering the fact of hybrid and online learning at the beginning of this school year, associate principal Charlie Driscoll would like to assure everyone that there has definitely not been a spike in fights.

“The numbers show that [fights] are no higher than they are at any other time,” Driscoll said. “I believe that we went through hybrid and it was quiet here in the building, and when we came back at the end of February, I think that it is just a general perception that more is happening.”

Driscoll also confirmed that there has been no increase in fights. Starting September 11th (the first day of the 2020-21 school year), there have been 108 incidents in the building, from anything including: vape pens, skipping class, fights, etc. This is a very small number compared to the amount of incidents during the last school year (2019-20), as there were over 1000 incidents. 

Nevertheless, the small amount of incidents this year is still alarming and that brings up another question, who is to blame? The situation is controversial, as everyone would rather point fingers instead of taking responsibilities for their actions. For example, upperclassmen will usually blame lowerclassmen for all of the fights. Administration has taken notice of this, and can confirm that parts of this statement are correct.

“Typically there is a correlation between the lower grades and fights,” Driscoll said. “The correlation is called maturity. You come out of middle school and you are a 13 year old kid, and you haven’t matured. I think kids mature and they show more positive behaviors.”

Safety is and has always been at the top of administration’s priorities and they are still developing ways to try to cut the amount of incidents to virtually none with different strategies and techniques.

“Every employee in the district is participating in Crisis Response Violence Prevention (CRVP), and we all have made a commitment that school safety is our number one priority.” Driscoll stated. “So we are being trained in various dexelation techniques, and prevention to try to talk a student down before they cause harm.”

“Everybody has their own problems, but there is no way they will 100 percent stop fights,” junior Connor Gerisher said.

Even with the false perception of students and staff believing that there is more violence in the building students still have input on how to lessen the amount of violence, to make everyone feel safe.

“Talk to kids more and see what’s personally going on and they can stop a fight before it starts,” Devine said.