DES MOINES, Iowa — It’s easy for East High School to stand out on its own merit.
“It has a long history and tradition. It’s our oldest school,” said Phil Roeder, Des Moines Public School District Director of Communications. But, a recent incident this past Thursday that led to a fight captured on video is not the type of notoriety they are looking for. “You can’t turn a blind eye, you need to treat them all seriously whether there are pictures of it or not.”
Roeder believes social media may have been the root of the cause. “There seemed to have been some rumors that were going around regarding what a student was or was not posting on their cell phone that led to this situation between a couple of students.”
The video shows one female student who takes another female student’s phone before shoving her to the ground. The attacker then throws several punches, hitting the victim on the ground, before it is stopped by a fellow student.
The video also appears on the “Craziest Girl Fights” facebook page. Caside Carman, a Sophomore at East H.S. said, “It was pretty crazy. I didn’t like to watch because that’s really bad.”
Witnesses say they saw students attempting to block a school resource officer from preventing the fight. Caside said, “It was while the fight was going on. They were making sure she wasn’t able to get in there and there was a girl behind it so the fight could continue.”
Assault charges have been filed against the attacker who remains unnamed due to the school district’s policy. “The S.R.O. was immediately involved and referred the matter to the county attorney’s office as well so there could be some additional consequences that the student will be facing as a result of this.”
While Roeder says numbers point to a decline in suspensions due to fights in recent years, students say this year may be different. “Fights all this week. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and today, oh my gosh.”
The district does provide school resource officers to all high schools. Roeder said, “We have one at each high school.” Students say that may not be enough for the largest school in the state. Christopher Davis a freshman at East H.S. said, “It is not good for the school and it is distracting because all the kids are focused on is where there is going to be another fight. If we had a couple more, most of these fights wouldn’t happen.”
“I don’t think kids should have to fight to solve problems, they should be able to talk it out. Violence is not the answer,” added Caside.
Des Moines Public School officials say it is district-wide policy to not discuss the length of suspension the accused attacker may have received because she is a current student.