Video a fight - be prepared for discipline

D55 superintendent wants students to stop promoting violence by cellphone-videoing violence

Fight in school - face discipline. Video a fight - face discipline. That was the message this morning from District 55 Superintendent Dr. Stephen Peters to students at Laurens District High School.

“If you videotape a fight, be prepared to suffer the consequence.” 

Peters spoke to the student body before a program in the gym. Students who video a fight will face the same discipline as students engaged in a fight, he said, according to a report of the on-line news source, g0laurens.com.

Peters was responding to incidents last week that by Friday had armed guards standing at the front entrance to LDHS, a school of about 1,600 students west of Laurens on Hwy 76. One student chased a student and cut another student in the gym, two male students brawled in a bathroom, and four students fought in the lunchroom - all caught on cellphone video, all sent to Upstate TV stations which aired the footage.

The person who used a knife in the gym was arrested and is being criminally charged as an adult, even though she is 16. Her family says she was bullied, that’s why she brought a knife for protection.

Attendance at LDHS was 60% lower on Friday as Snapchat circulated a report that students were going to bring guns to school. No incidents were reported Friday night as Laurens hosted Greenwood in basketball, or during the weekend, or as school began this week.

A report said Peters told the LDHS students, ““We need to stop giving, sending, videotaping and taking images of fights or anything in school. I have authorized the administration at the high school that if you videotape a fight, whatever they give the fighters in terms of suspension, they will give you. We are going to make this retroactive. This is how serious I am about this. We are going back to fights that happened and things that happened where crowds gathered.”

In addition to dealing with discipline, social media rumors and news media camped out at LDHS, Peters has been engaged in selling the D55 community on a $109 million bond referendum that will be voted on in May. Public forums were held in Hickory Tavern and Gray Court, and the next forum will be Monday at Sanders Middle School. The final forum will be at LDHS on Feb. 28.

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