Fights Have Been Happening at Highland

Fights at Highland can cause big problems

Kyle Adams, Web Editor

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It’s January 28th, 2016, 12:53 p.m. The Highland lunchroom is busy with its normal bustle. A flash flood of students suddenly gush southwest towards the art hall. The normal cacophony of the lunchroom is pierced by a familiar chant.

“Fight! Fight! Fight!”

Stragglers struggle to reach their heads high enough over the sea of students. Some students stand atop tables and chairs to get a view of the chaos below.

“So I walk out of the bathroom and… BOOM! There’s a fight,” Sam Phothom said.

Two girls are in the hallway pummeling each other. Hundreds of other students surround the area, egging them on.

Before anything serious can happen, the school cops run over and pull the brawlers apart. Three or four teachers also run out to break up the group of onlookers.

But the damage is done, the charged air from the fight surrounds the area. Most students go back to what they were doing. Some, however, huddle up and discuss how the fight went, describing to those who didn’t get a good view exactly what happened.

“All of a sudden you see everyone running over and a cop just comes out of nowhere to tackle the girl,” one said.

“The girl who started it just dipped out to get TCBY,” another said.

“That has to be one of the best fights of the year,” a final group member explains.

Fights like this aren’t an uncommon occurrence in schools all over the country. Particularly violent fights do not happen as often. At Highland, there have been multiple fights this year, with only one serious injury, according to Salt Lake City police detective Phil Eslinger.

Eslinger, one of two officers assigned to Highland, spends a lot of his time preventing fights and cleaning up after them. His job is to keep the students and faculty of Highland safe. Eslinger has seen quite a few fights in his many years of work. He believes there are reasons for every fight, but recently the reasons have been changing.

“I can tell you the common denominator,” Eslinger said. “Social media.”

He explained that when students start saying negative things about each other on social media, it often escalates beyond the virtual world.

“Someone decides that they’ve had enough, and there is a confrontation,” Elsinger said.

If the administration or police officers find out that this kind of cyber fighting is happening, they will take the students down to talk with them about what is happening in hope of preventing confrontation in the future.

Preventative measures like this cause the number of fights per year at Highland to be around average, or slightly below average in the Salt Lake City School District.

“Sometimes there is a criminal side to the fights where we have to arrest,” Eslinger said. “It’s not worth it to go to court. It will disrupt your life here at school and make it less pleasant.”

These fights are a serious matter. Students are often suspended or hxpelled from school after starting a fight. When the case is serious enough, some students even have to serve time in juvenile detention.

Most fights can be prevented by very simple means, but peers often drive the fights.

“Their friends will often be there encouraging the fight before it even starts,” Eslinger said.

Who doesn’t love seeing a good fight? Isn’t it almost a rite of passage to see a fight in high school?

If students can find it within themselves to remove themselves from the mob mentality and stop encouraging a fight, the fighters may never have enough motivation to take the first swing.

“Don’t encourage your friends to fight,”Eslinger said. “Students can be much more effective at stopping these fights than we ever can.”

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Fights Have Been Happening at Highland