Nine sixth-grade boys were expelled from Stewart Middle School Monday after officials at the Tacoma School learned about their suspected participation in a so-called “fight club.”
Tacoma Public Schools spokesman Dan Voelpel said it came to light when a relative of one participant spoke to television station KCPQ. The station aired video Sunday from one boy’s cell phone showing two boys – their faces blurred – engaged in a fight.
School officials watched the video Monday morning and deduced the identities of some of the boys. Voelpel said they were apparently friends who would set up after-school fights – staged in a boys’ restroom at the South End school or at the youths’ own homes – to see who was the toughest.
The events were timed and had their own rules, such as “no hitting your opponent in the face,” Voelpel said.
The TV station reported that one boy had recorded at least 15 fights.
Voelpel said Stewart took action based on the videos. He said none of the boys’ parents had reported the incidents to school authorities before the video aired.
The boys were given what are termed emergency expulsions, effective Monday. Voelpel said the length of their time out of school will be determined on a case-by-case basis, and that school officials will factor in the students’ disciplinary histories.
District officials also alerted school principals throughout the city to be on the alert for these kinds of incidents.