Fight at Hickman leads to eight arrests

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 | 7:23 p.m. CDT; updated 9:22 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 29, 2008

COLUMBIA — Eight males were arrested Wednesday at what Columbia police are referring to as an "active disturbance" at Hickman High School, according to a news release from the Columbia Police Department.

Seven of the males, ages 16 through 20, were arrested on suspicion of peace disturbance by fighting. An eighth person, a 17-year-old, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree trespassing after police said he entered the school at the time of the disturbance to help a relative. He had previously been given a warning against trespassing from a school administrator, according to the release.

The disturbance occurred at 11:35 a.m., police said, and by the time officers arrived, the fight had been broken up by school staff and administrators.

No one reported any injuries, Sgt. Eric White said in the release.

On Oct. 15, two students were arrested following a fight at Hickman that was videotaped by a bystander and posted to the video-sharing Web site YouTube. That fight resulted in a police investigation of Hickman High School Resource Officer Mark Brotemarkle and whether he used excessive force when breaking up the fight.

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Charles Dudley Jr October 29, 2008 | 7:56 p.m.

Seems all of this fighting at HHS is a ongoing thing. Good thing the cops are there and maybe CPS should just put HHS n lock down status to curb this ongoing issue.

Now once again where are all of the parents in all of this and what if it had gotten to a shoot out scenario?

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 29, 2008 | 8:04 p.m.

Are they still allowing these "kids" out into the community during lunch-times, etc? Maybe it's time for there to be a bigger police presence in this school of horrors...

(Report Comment)
Panama Red October 29, 2008 | 9:08 p.m.

I drive public transit. Kids these days, are a real pain in the you know where. Columbia is going to be facing a serious problem if we don't get a grip, like the Mall did with there situation.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 30, 2008 | 3:19 a.m.

So Panama Red is confirming these kids are a pain the moment they get on the bus.

Now where are these kids getting on the buses at so we can back trace these kids to their sources.

You know where this thread is going. These kids must have a point of origin and at that point you will find the main problem.

Thank you Panama Red for your confirmation of problem kids.

(Report Comment)
Phillip Overeem October 30, 2008 | 6:17 a.m.

I have news for Mr. Shapiro.

Even if you take both fights into consideration, we are talking about 10 students out of over 2,000 in a school built for 1,500-1,600.

"The School of Horrors" produced 18 National Merit Semi-Finalists this year, and has produced more National Presidential Scholars than any high school in the Midwest.

"The School of Horrors" also features classes such as Classical Ideas and World Religions, Film Study, African-American History, Extracurriculars like Global Issues, Amnesty International, The Academy of Rock, Bridges, and programs like the 20+-year-old-and-running Speak Your Mind Forum, where tonight, in the same "School of Horrors Commons" where said fights occurred, representatives from five political parties that have presidential candidates in the running will speak to and get questioned by a crowd of students.

The fight featured in the article was broken up by teachers and a very helpful student without blows being landed that I saw (I was one of the teachers). That's a fight with seven kids (and one non-student) going at it--at lunch. You'd think those folks would be eating lunch, but, no, they were out being vigilant. We got the kids separated and dealt with without either Mr. Brotemarkle or a "bigger police presence," though I can assure you all schools with a resource officer are thankful to the department for offering them one.

I have taught at "The School of Horrors" for 11 of the last
18 years of my 25-year career, during which I've instructed at five different schools. Hickman is by far the best building at which I've worked, with the best-educated and most enriching staff I've ever been a part of, and a principal with vision; in fact, I am one of the many who have left Hickman and come back because I missed it. So I have been around enough to know that of which I speak. And the kids? Awesome. I've taught all three grades and never met a class I didn't like, though young humans (as you probably knows) can be a challenge to like from time to time. As I told a student yesterday, we're a cross-section of the population. You suppose any adults in Columbia squared off yesterday anywhere for stupid reasons? I don't know, maybe it's a "City of Horrors"?

Stop by and walk our whole building, listen in to the discussions going on in classrooms. If you get caught between classes, test how your temperament holds up as you try not to jostle or be jostled by the 2,000+ students we serve, and note the number of teachers and administrators in the hallways. Also, ask yourself whether trusting the media in its present form is the pathway to truth, which, as Oscar Wilde noted, "is seldom pure and never simple." At any rate, it's too complex for today's media and its consumers to deal with accurately in a news bite.

(Report Comment)
Marlon Jordan October 30, 2008 | 7:05 a.m.

Any come back ray? Thanks Phillip!

(Report Comment)
Michael Vaughn October 30, 2008 | 7:21 a.m.

Well Mr. Dudley if I were to guess as to where the parents were I would say "WORK" !!!

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand October 30, 2008 | 9:18 a.m.

Their parents are legally responsible, even if the kids have moved out or vice-versa. So Hickman needs to go after the parents, such as by making them pay for the cost of having SROs and related measures (e.g., metal detectors). If they don't have a job, garnish their welfare. Make the parents' lives a living hell until they take control. Their inability to address -- and thus prevent -- these behaviors when the kids were younger is their problem and fault, not society's.

(Report Comment)
fritz laun October 30, 2008 | 10:13 a.m.

Wow, Ray Shapiro got dominated.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 30, 2008 | 10:21 a.m.

Michael Vaughn you so miss the point about proper nurturing and education that starts in the home so incidents like the ones we see at HHS do not continually happen whether it is a school of 2,000 or a school of 5,000 the point is nurturing and education of civic obedience and the respect of others especially in school starts in the home whether you want to acknowledge that or not is your problem but it is a simple and very plain fact.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 30, 2008 | 10:25 a.m.

fritz laun how did he get dominated? We are still seeing all of these incidents coming out of HHS is looks like weekly now. How many is that this year alone? How many in the past? Do we see a growing trend in the rise in incidents at HHS?

ray shapiro did not get owned as you say but he did bring up very valid points of view.

The question is when will the parents of these kids causing all of this trouble be held accountable for all of their childrens antics?

(Report Comment)
Shannon Hale October 30, 2008 | 11:20 a.m.

While Phillip lays out excellent points regarding Hickman and the good students that attend there, I can't help wonder why these fights continue to happen. Rockbridge students do not make the headlines the way Hickman students do, and although there are many good programs and an excellent curriculum it is sadly eclipsed by the relatively few bad seeds that continue to make terrible choices. Instead of being on the defense, I wish Phillip would discuss what programs are in place to help curb this unchecked aggression that is continually being displayed. How do Hickman administrators discipline these students, and what policy is in place for repeat offenders? I would also like to comment on the question Phillip asked regarding how many adults squared off yesterday for stupid reasons, I am sure that if there were adults fighting that they would be punished appropriately (jail time, fines), and hopefully effectively enough to ensure it does not happen again. Does Hickman punish these students appropriately enough to help curb future fights? If these students, that have been fighting, were made examples of in front of the whole student body (public humiliation can be a very effective deterrent) as well as community school service (picking up trash, etc) for the remainder of the school year, and mandatory participation in anger management classes; I have a feeling students might think twice before getting into the next skirmish. If the students do not want to do the service and classes, which is better than jail any day, then they clearly need to go to an institution that is properly equipped to deal with problems they create for themselves and others. Why should the other good students suffer for a few bad seeds? One last thing, Phillip asks “whether trusting the media in its present form is the pathway to truth, at any rate, it's too complex for today's media and its consumers to deal with accurately in news bite”, I disagree. I disagree because this disregards all the reports that have come out of Hickman based on the administrators’ statements given to the press and the police statements. Sure, this year (so far) it is only 10 students that are causing the problems, but last year I remember reading about another brawl that ended up inside the school and involved adults that should not be on school grounds, or how about the student that was caught with the hand gun across the street from the school? Should I disregard these reports as well? My opinions are based on the pure and simple facts presented by police and administrators. I feel as if Phillip does not present a clear picture of the facts addressed in the news article. Instead he pushes the real issue (violence in our school system) aside by not discussing the reality that Hickman has had an on going problem with fights and these bad seeds have a basic disregard for school rules, their own personal safety as well as their peers, and basic civil obedience.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 30, 2008 | 11:27 a.m.

Oh CPS has a new policy in place now.

School Safety a Priority for Columbia Public Schools
Consequences for Fighting
The Columbia School District must provide a safe and positive learning environment for all children. School district administration is concerned about the increase in fighting on school grounds and at school activities. Inappropriate behavior distracts from the learning opportunities of students and will not be tolerated. In response, the following consequences will occur for students in grades 8-12:
• Participation in a fight – minimum of a 10-day of out-of-school suspension
• Participation in a fight and non-compliance with faculty and staff who become involved in the incident – automatic 10-day out-of-school suspension and request for extended suspension by the Superintendent
• Participation in a fight and assault or physical endangerment of faculty, staff or other adult – automatic 10-day out-of-school suspension and request for extended suspension by the Superintendent that could result in suspension for up to one school year or 180 days.
• All incidents will result in referral to law enforcement
• Direct or indirect participation of students who encourage or promote fights will not be tolerated and students will be subject to disciplinary actions
The Columbia Public Schools asks for assistance from the community to encourage and promote behaviors that will cause a positive school environment

Source: Tribune

Now if they actually enforce it waits to be seen. Also they should have mandatory counciling for the parents and the problem children.

(Report Comment)
Phillip Overeem October 30, 2008 | 6:00 p.m.

Folks, I wasn't trying to dominate Mr. Shapiro. I am glad, in fact, that he is outraged. However, I felt he needed some context.

Ms. Hale, thanks for the compliment about my points. I'd like to answer a few of your questions, though one I would like to ask you back first to see what YOUR answer is:

Why AREN'T there headlines (lately--there HAVE been in the fairly recent past) about Rock Bridge? Do you think it is simply because they have a better system (they are, by the way, a damn good faculty)? And what would headlines necessarily have to do with reality? Is there some kind of "bat phone" whereby the media is alerted regarding every fight? You tell me.

Also, our faculty is beginning to study de-escalation techniques as a part of the district-mandated PBS program. Much of our support for disruptive students was undermined by the failure of the tax levy to pass, so that doesn't help. You mention stiffer punishments. If the death penalty doesn't deter murderers from murdering--and research shows it doesn't--regardless of the stiffness of the punishments at school, recidivists are going to continue to act out. We educate the public; the public has some hardcore scrappers; we get to deal with them. Where would you have them go to be educated? And, guess what? Some of those kids who've made the headlines are going to turn it around and graduate. At Hickman, we believe all kids can change and learn--we have to, or we can't come to work. I've watched kids walk across the stage with a valid diploma that were rough as cobs as sophomores.

I have to go to a school event or I would write more, but I would like to say one other thing: I never encouraged anyone to disregard reports of school violence. I simply have asked people to look at the WHOLE picture. Also, I invited people to come see for themselves, rather than sit on the sidelines and imagine, which can be a scary thing. I know what it's like--I work there. Have had for eleven years, and plan on continuing to do so.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 30, 2008 | 9:10 p.m.

Mr. Overeem: I am very aware that there are far more law-abiding students at Hickman. I am also aware that you have a tough job and have dedicated more than a decade to your involvement with youth. Continue to stand up for the good ones. Once upon a time, I too thought that there was no such thing as "bad" kids. I am no longer a "Father Flanagan." (Although I still do some volunteer work for a local youth group.) I also know that what gets in the "papers" is just the tip of the iceberg. Lots of good and bad escapes public scrunity.
In my opinion, parents, teachers and administrators don't have enough workshops and focus groups which include the kids as participants in behavior modification, CBT and conflict/resolution matters. PTA's evaporate and the education system becomes too political. You also have the "gangsta rap" kingdom to deal with.
And as for my "School of Horrors" crack, I used it only because it's Halloween time and seemed to fit the season. (You educators have no sense of humor.)
Good night and good luck...

(Report Comment)
Phillip Overeem October 30, 2008 | 10:43 p.m.

No, Ray, I got the joke, that's why I kept riding it for 3,000 characters. And I'm afraid if we DIDN'T have a sense of humor we wouldn't be teaching. In fact, we talked at lunch today about making orange and black school sweatshirts emblazoned "Hickman: School of Horrors!" on the front and a naked baby with a gun and a knife in his hands and a jack o'lantern on his head on the back. Just a little too late to get those printed up.

We're ahead of you on the admins-teachers-parents-kids focus groups; we have so many OTHER mandates we are moving slowly, however--a problem to which you allude.

Question--just to be clear: is "the 'gangsta rap' kingdom" phrase a joke? I know a lot of students, parents, and teachers who wouldn't think that was very funny. Considering the fact that the majority of consumers of so-called gangsta rap (it's been on the way out for awhile now) are white, and that no research has ever linked listening to music to behavior, I'd be interested in you clarifying exactly what that comment meant. I do understand, however, that your sign-off seems to mean you're done with this issue. Please do come visit some time, though. Lunch would be good, because we have some folks who could enlighten you better than I, and you could stay safe inside our teacher's lounge/inner sanctum.

I appreciate the good luck wish, but I try to operate in such a way that I don't need it. I like to make my own if I can :) Good night yourself if you're still up.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 31, 2008 | 3:53 p.m.

P.O.- I am very serious about my opinion on how the gangsta rap aficionados are effected by that media.
Maybe "hatchetman" logos" are available for your sweatshirts?
Happy Halloween.

(It's a shame you can't prioritize mandates. Must be frustrating.)

(Report Comment)

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