"FHS Fight Week" creates fear in student community

A fight that occurred on Monday, Sept. 23, and isolated fights that followed, spurred rumors on social media that Fauquier High School is having a ‘fight week.’ According to Assistant Principal Kraig Kelican, there have been four verified fights on school grounds this week; several other fights were reported but are not yet verified. A gun threat reported by a parent was investigated and has been deemed inaccurate. Kelican discourages parents from picking up their kids from school.
“Anything we see that has merit, we’re dealing with,” Kelican said. “This is not us. Stop the rumors. It’s a sad, unfortunate thing. In the 29 years I’ve been in this building I’ve never seen anything like this.”
The hashtag FHS Fight Week and an account called FHS Fight Club is consuming social media sites. Student tweets have threatened administrators, faculty, and other students. The administrators are identifying and investigating the owner of the twitter account. Kelican believes the posts are not malicious, but are serious and will be disciplined.
“It depends what the intent was,” Kelican said. “If it continues, then there will be firm consequences.”
Athletic Trainer Bryan Grimley was threatened as a target after he broke up a fight that occurred on Sept. 24.
“I’ve heard. I think it was just people trying to be funny,” Grimley said “I think it’s a social media thing. That’s the biggest problem.”
Along with many other students, senior Claire Lindsey has heard a multitude of rumors.
“Somebody told me that if there were more than six fights, then the school would have to close, which I didn’t believe.  I heard that someone was passed out on the stairs and that someone broke their jaw; that’s horrible,” Lindsey said. “I heard that Bryan broke up a fight and he had the other kid’s blood all over his shirt, and that was true. I heard that 10 people were going to be in one big fight on Friday, which I hope doesn’t happen.”
There are rumors that today is “jump a freshman Thursday” and tomorrow is to be a “Purge Friday.”
“I’m not going to school if that’s going to happen. I thought this was a good school until now,” a freshman who wishes to remain anonymous said. “I feel bad. I feel scared to come to school. I’m afraid they’re going to take away phones because people are recording fights. It’s like the purge, but it’s a full week.”
Students involved can be disciplined with a suspension from one to 30 days. No amount of fights will result in student evacuation. Student behavior that is classified as a major school disruption may result in a 10 day suspension. This includes inappropriate posts to social media accounts.
“Other than the fact it’s sad that kids would do this, when you see posts about the zoo and then you scroll down and see a fight that happened it’s sad for you all,” Kelican said.
Senior Claire Lindsey feels scared and ashamed of how the ‘fight week’ reflects on FHS.
“A lot of people are talking about it; kids from Kettle Run and Liberty. It gives a bad image to the school,” Lindsey said. “ I feel like people are fighting each other at random, for no reason, and it’s scary. I think that this is where people are getting all of their anger out, and I think if someone was mad at me for some reason, then this would be the week they’d do something.”
The administration has to report any incident resulting in discipline to the state. There are three tiers of severity, tier three being the most severe. The amount of discipline reported could ultimately affect the reputation and status of Fauquier High School as being a “Safe School”.
In a meeting this morning, senior class sponsor Paul Reynolds and administrators asked the SCA officers, class officers, and Zoo captains to help end the rumors associated with FHS fight week.
“I think it’s ridiculous, the whole concept of this fight and why. I know we’re forced together in a student community by choice, but part of going to school is learning how to function in a society. I just don’t understand it at all,” Reynolds said. “We knew administratively years ago that this social networking would be a problem, a concern with schools. Are we going to go away with these devices? No, because that’s our society.”
Kelican has hope that leaders in Fauquier High School’s student body, can diminish talk of fight week.
“I think it’s something that with the help of student leaders, this can go away quickly. We asked the SCA officers, class officers, and Zoo captains to help us stop the rumors.” Kelican said. “It’s sad for you all. It’s miscommunication and poor decisions across the board.”
~SaraRose Martin, co editor-in-chief (with contributions from Erin Conolly, Emma Spector, and Eryka Hackett)