Confusion, shouts and crowds swarm when Owatonna High School students become violent. A few weeks ago, there were multiple altercations. One such involved two Owatonna High School staff members. Due to the processing of this incident, OHS Magnet could not interview anyone involved. What is happening at OHS that is causing these fights? Not only students are in jeopardy, but teachers and staff members can get in harm’s way.
The occasional fight comes with fair consequences for those involved. Vice Principal Jeff Miller said, “Every incident is different. Depending on what the situation is, if there is a consequence it might be an in-school suspension or an out-of-school suspension. If there is an injury that requires medical attention, it may go directly for review to the school board.” Depending on the fight, consequences could range from a parent meeting to a felony. Yelling obscene words in the hallways is also considered disorderly conduct. At this time of year, Mr. Miller cannot predict how the school year will go with fights.
The Community Service Officers (CSOs) were added to OHS last school year; since then, the number of thefts has decreased, especially in the locker rooms. The CSOs help monitor the school and keep students from freely roaming the halls. Guests are required to check in at the front desk with a CSO, to make sure the people coming in are identified. They check doors to make sure they are not being propped open so other students can let each other in. Officer Flynn believes that the reason fights occur is mainly because of rumors. Students who feel like there is no other way of resolving a problem resort to violence. Officer Flynn is in charge of issuing citations. Officer Flynn said, “Sometimes if it is not a ticket, it goes through a longer process. But I will charge them with a crime.” Rumors can lead to harmful situations. Even though they seem innocent, rumors can potentially damage a person’s life. Officer Flynn’s first intention is keeping everyone safe.
Mr. Miller and Officer Flynn agree that OHS is a safe school. This school year, like any other school year, will have a few bad weeks. The goal is to have many more peaceful months. With the addition the CSOs and their protection, there is hope that there will be less fighting. In the case of a student witnessing a fight, Mr. Miller said, “Find an adult- a staff member who can intervene.” Vice Principal Ms. Adams agreed with Mr. Miller’s advice. The climate at OHS should be one that students should feel safe.