Multiple Student Onlookers Suspended After Parking Lot Fight At CSAS

Principal Says Mass Suspensions Are For Involvement In Fight

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A number of students who witnessed a parking lot fight at Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences have been suspended, one parent said.

She said the fight was last Friday afternoon between a white student and a black student. She said one of the students displayed a knife, but put it away before the fist fight.

One student said she believes as many as 42 students have been suspended thus far with more expected on Wednesday.

Barbara Jordan, principal of CSAS, said, "Several students were suspended from CSAS yesterday for their involvement in a fight. Students interviewed and/or suspended were identified through student statements and video. Roles in the incident varied from the actual participants in the fight, instigators and those whose conduct was prejudicial to good order. There was a knife that a student placed in the car before the fight ensued. This is not a zero tolerance offense."

The parent said the two students involved in the fight have been suspended, and she said a number of students standing and watching the fight were called into the office on Tuesday and given suspensions as well.

Some of the students who saw the fight are due back in the office again Wednesday for their turn at questioning and possible suspension, it was stated.

The parent said, "Multiple parents began congregating at the school after hearing of the suspensions" by Ms. Jordan.

She said, "We will probably get legal counsel."

She said there is a seven-minute video of the fight.

School officials could not be reached for comment.

One CSAS student said, "Why is it that the student who attempted to break up the fight got suspended? Is it right to suspend students for not acting when a knife is involved? I see many of my friends at school that were suspended. They are not bad students. In fact, some of the school's best students got suspended simply for 'bystanding'. Even the student who acted was suspended. The school is talking about appointing legal counsel in the matter, so clearly there is public outcry.

"I am confused most at what I as a student was expected to do in a situation like that. If I had broken up the fight then I would have been suspended, if I had walked away then my face might have appeared on the video and I would have been suspended and if I had simply watched then I would have been suspended. Faculty arrived quickly so going to get faculty was not an option. The only way to avoid not getting suspended was to not have been there at all - to not have been present in the parking lot where students park their cars. To punish that many students over something so asinine has caused odium towards the administration."

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