Auburn High School principal addresses safety after fights break out

Three different fights broke out at Auburn High School on Thursday, Oct. 21, Auburn High School Principal Jeff Gardner said in a video update he posted to YouTube.

“This is my fifth year here and I would say today has probably been the most difficult day since I’ve been here. We had three different fights in our building,” Gardner said.

In the first fight, two students were jumped in a bathroom by two other students, Gardner said. The involved students were both male and female, but Gardner did not specify the gender of the victims. The district has a video of the fight that they are currently reviewing, Gardner said.

The second fight also involved multiple attackers when three students teamed up to attack a single student, Gardner said.

In a third incident, one student was hit on the head by another student who left the school, but administrators have the perpetrator’s student ID, Gardner said. An Auburn Police School Resource Officer was on campus when the fights happened and assisted with the situation, said Vicki Alonzo, Auburn School District’s director of communications.

All of the students who were involved or on the “periphery” of these incidents aren’t allowed to return to school until further notice, Gardner said. The school is working with the parents of the involved students, Gardner said. The district does not release specific information about individual student discipline, Alonzo said.

“We are dedicated to educating our students, but what we’re not dedicated to is preserving the rights of students who create safety issues in our building,” Gardner said.

Gardner said about two weeks ago, the administration identified a group of about 12 to 18 students who “are not engaging in their learning on any type of consistent way.”

These students are spreading gossip and misinformation within the school, causing a lot of drama that is connected to these safety issues, Gardner said. Due to this, the school will be sending students home immediately if they create safety issues, Gardner said.

There was an additional police presence on the school campus as a result of the fight, Gardner said. It is not clear whether the Auburn police are investigating the fights, or if criminal charges will be filed.

The Auburn High School staff are dedicated to serving their students’ education and keeping them safe, but sometimes they need students’ help, Gardner said. They may ask for students’ names in the hallway because it’s harder to identify students when they’re wearing masks. Gardner sent two students home last Thursday because they weren’t willing to give their names to administrators.

The school may make additional changes to its procedures to make the school safer, Alonzo said.

Gardner ended the video by saying the vast majority of students are doing the right thing by taking their classes seriously and not causing problems.