6 Jefferson County football players suspended for school fight

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By: WCTV Eyewitness News
November 8, 2017

MONTICELLO, Fla. (WCTV) -- Six football players have been suspended for their involvement in a large fight last week at Jefferson County Middle/High School.

The altercation ended with authorities taking fifteen students to jail.

WCTV has been told the suspended players will not be allowed to participate in Friday's football game against Blountstown.


By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
November 2, 2017

MONTICELLO, Fla. (WCTV) -- Parents are angry and authorities are looking for answers following a large fight that broke out Thursday morning at Jefferson County Middle/High School.

Fifteen students were taken to jail.

U'niq Davis can't believe he went from the school house to the jail house. He was arrested after he says several boys at the school started fighting his brother.

"When I seen them jumping my brother, all I did was help him," Davis said. "All I was doing was grabbing them off my brother and the police and school security guards were slamming me, hitting me, beating me up for no reason.

"All I'm doing is pulling people off my brother. I didn't punch nobody, I didn't hit nobody at all," he continued.

The 16-year-old was released from Jefferson County Jail Thursday around 3 p.m.

Family members of the 15 students that were detained after the brawl spent much of their day waiting at the jail.

Davis' guardian, Kathy Woody, said, "They're 13 and 12 year old kids, getting jumped on by 18, 17 year old kids. It doesn't make any sense."

Students say both high schoolers and middle schoolers were involved.

Seventh grader Shamar Harris said, "They said 'Y'all ain't going to fight or nothing.' That's when everybody dropped their bookbags. That's when the football players threw their first hit. That's when somebody threw it back; they just started jumping."

Deshawn Jones, a seventh grader, added, "At the time it was scary because high schoolers were just coming at me. I had just defended myself and just take up for my rights."

Superintendent Marianne Arbulu said, "I'm glad to know that staff did the right thing and took every precaution to prevent any of our students from being harmed."

The school was temporarily placed on lockdown with added security from staff and the sheriff's department for the remainder of the day, and Arbulu said student movement was being monitored and limited.

"We're not going to let this disrupt the good work that's going on at the school and in the district," she said.

Arbulu says the school will be open Friday.

There's an across-the-board 10-day suspension for all students who were involved in the altercation. Arbulu says administration will look at additional consequences based on the individuals and the parts they played in the ordeal.

Two students who are 18 were charged with misdemeanors.

"I'm alright, I'm fine. I went through it. I made it and that's it. I'm glad I got out," said Davis.

Somerset Academy took control of the district this past summer after years of poor student performance and financial problems.

Somerset and school and district officials held an already-scheduled open house Thursday at 6 p.m. at the school district office.


By: WCTV Eyewitness News
November 2, 2017

MONTICELLO, Fla. (WCTV) -- Jefferson County Middle/High School was placed on lockdown Thursday morning following a large fight among students.

Superintendent Marianne Arbulu says the fight happened outside the cafeteria among male high school students, including some members of the football team.

Arbulu says sheriff's deputies were called in to break up the fight and took 15 students away.

On Thursday afternoon, Jefferson County Vice Principal Andre Gainey released the following statement in response to the incident:

"We wanted to make you aware of an incident that occurred at our school this morning that was immediately managed by administrators and security personnel in an efficient, responsible and appropriate manner.

"Sixteen male students became involved in a physical altercation at approximately 8:33 a.m. today as they were exiting the cafeteria following breakfast. School officials, teachers and security personnel intervened and stopped the fight and immediately contacted the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, whose officers arrived shortly afterward.

"There were no injuries reported and no weapons involved, but officers took 13 juveniles and two adult students into custody at the Sheriff's department in Monticello, where they were questioned. The two adults were charged with disruption of a school function. Minor students were not charged and were released to their parents.

"It remains unclear what started the fight but several members of the high school football team were involved.

"While this incident is the first of its kind since the school has been operating as a charter institution, we view it as entirely unacceptable and we will be implementing additional measures to ensure that nothing like it occurs again.

"The safety and security of our students and teachers is of utmost importance to us. Because of that priority, we are served by 12 full-time security officers, 10 of which were on duty at the time of the altercation."

Parents of the detained students gathered outside of the Jefferson County Jail on Thursday morning, telling us the students are facing misdemeanor charges of disrupting a school function. Parents were also told that the students are expected to be released soon.

Superintendent Arbulu says there were no injuries in the fight.

"Glad to know that staff did the right thing and took every precaution to prevent any of our students from being harmed," Arbulu said.

The school was temporarily placed on lockdown with added security from staff and the sheriff's department for the remainder of the day and Arbulu says student movement was being monitored and limited.

An open house planned for this evening will go forward as planned.

"We're not going to let this disrupt the good work that's going on at the school and in the district," said Arbulu.

This is the first school year that a charter company is operating the Jefferson County school district. Somerset Academy took control of the district this past summer after years of poor student performance and financial problems. .

The charter school is bringing many changes. For instance, students are required to wear uniforms, including a colored polo shirt that differentiates the grades at the school.



 
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