by Travis Haese | Staff Writer

In a rare case of rumor belying reality, a spattering of fights have played out at Johnson over the past weeks. As this school year has already seen four fights before the first semester’s close, students, staff and parents are concerned that such events will repeat themselves in the near future. However, principal John Mehlbrech assures all concerned that these incidents are not unreasonable in frequency.

“As the school population increases, the tendency for altercations to occur will naturally increase,” Principal John Mehlbrech said. “But that doesn’t mean that it is out of control and that we have a problem.”

Mehlbrech believes the difficulties teens deal with may seem solvable by violence at times.

“It’s the issues that kids have to deal,” he said. “We are trying to correct their behavior so the student can take alternative decisions, rather than having to handle it physically.”

People who witness these fast events tend to assume that the disagreement at hand is between two different groups of students. Gangs, for example, are stereotyped to be the root of in-school violence. This is not always the case.

“What you have in the incidents that occur are issues relating to personal items; that one student may have allegedly taken from another,” Mehlbrech said. “Or it might be a dispute about one kid talking to another’s girlfriend. There has been no indication up to this point that there is evidence of gang-related issues.”

Regardless of cause, the consequences of fighting at school are severe.

“If a student decides to make that choice, they will be ticketed, and they will be put into ISS level 2 for five days,” Mehlbrech said. “If the student fights again, he or she will be sent to alternative high school and will be ticketed again.”

Fighting can easily be easily avoided, and stepping down from the conflict is the better move to make if a student happens to find himself in such a scenario.

“We would certainly rather have students solve their problems a different way than fighting,” Mehlbrech said. “Try not to respond physically. The best thing to do is to not even get in the situation. If you have had problems with another student, bring it forward to the administrators so we can talk to this other kid to explain what will happen if they decide to respond physically.”

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