Athens school fighting caught on video, cause of last week's violence under investigation


A student took this video that purports to show students fighting at Cedar Shoals High School


By Joe Johnson

The Clarke County School District continues to deal with the fallout from widespread student fighting last week at both of the district’s high schools.

The fighting at Cedar Shoals High School on Sept. 22 was so intense that the school went into an extended lockdown.

Some students fought with staff members who tried to break up altercations, and some staff reportedly were injured.

Donald Porter, the school district's director of public relations and communications said a report of an assistant principal suffering a broken jaw was unfounded.

“It is true that a few CSHS staff members were treated at the school for minor abrasions,” Porter said. “There were also a couple of cases where ice was used to reduce some inflammation; however, there were certainly no broken bones reported.

In a letter to parents the day of the fighting Schools Superintendent Xernona Thomas said the brawls were part of an “increase in inappropriate behaviors” among students, who she said have chosen to “resolve their issues with violence.”

Security at Cedar Shoals and Clarke Central high schools remained beefed up, with Athens-Clarke County police on standby should there be a recurrence of violence. The county police department has resource officers assigned to both schools.

“Since the fights on Sept. 22 we have been working with the Clarke County School District Police Department to provide additional safety measures at both Cedar Shoals and Clarke Central High Schools,” ACCPD spokesman Lt. Shaun Barnett said. “This does include utilizing additional ACCPD officers to conduct patrols of those schools, particularly during high-traffic times such as when school lets out.”

The fighting has so far resulted in several students being disciplined for their involvement in the fighting, according to Porter, who said measures ranged from suspensions to placement in the alternative Classic City High School.

An investigation into the fighting by the school district and ACCPD continued, with the gathering of evidence through student and staff interviews and reviewing video surveillance footage.

“We anticipate that there may be more students facing discipline consequences once the investigation concludes and the district has a chance to review the findings,” Porter said.

“At this point, there is sufficient evidence that indicates the events that unfolded at the high school were an extension of conflicts that originated outside the school that manifested into these physical altercations,” Porter said.

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