AP NEWS

Students taken to hospital after fight

March 7, 2019

KANKAKEE — A student at Kankakee High School was slashed with a box cutter in the cafeteria Wednesday afternoon, police told the Daily Journal.

Two ambulances responded to the incident. The two male students are being treated for “extremely minor” injuries, Lt. Dave Skelly said.

According to a press release from Principal George Harris, there were two altercations at the high school Wednesday.

The altercation involving the stabbing happened between two students sitting at the same lunch table, Harris said. Both students were injured, one with a cut from a box cutter.

Both were taken to the hospital, and their parents were notified, Harris said. The incident did not involve any other students.

Once the cafeteria was cleared, the school placed all students on a “soft lockdown” for the last two class periods, according to the release.

Earlier in the day, there was an unrelated fight between two students regarding relationship issues, Harris said. Later, a third student was involved. All three students were turned over to police.

For the remainder of the week, the school will restrict passes to monitor social interaction among students.

The administration will hold a parent meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday for a public discussion on school safety. A similar meeting was held in December.

Before the stabbing occurred Wednesday afternoon, a school official said fighting had become less frequent in the first two months of 2019, compared with late last year.

In December, fighting at the high school became so bad the district termed it a “crisis.” Officials said altercations had more than doubled from the previous year.

In a letter to parents that month, Superintendent Genevra Walters promised the district would increase discipline and call police when fights happen.

The topic came to the forefront after 21 students were suspended for taking part in several fights in the cafeteria during lunch in early December.

In an interview Wednesday morning, Walters called the level of fighting “definitely much better” at the high school.

“If we could eliminate the interaction students have in the evening on social media, we could significantly reduce fights,” she said. “Years ago, there was a break in the evening from other kids. Now there is no break.”

At the middle school level, Walters said, fighting has continued.

“They are still at each other. It’s a lack of maturity with social media interaction. We have to monitor that as much as possible,” she said. “One thing that has improved there is kids are telling adults when there is a problem.”

At Tuesday’s school board meeting, a mother reported that her daughter was a victim of a bully.

She wondered what it would take for the bully to be punished.

In response, Walters told the woman she didn’t normally respond to public input during meetings. But she said she was making an exception because of the allegations.

Walters told the woman she saw a video in relation to the situation.

“I agree it’s pretty serious,” she said at Tuesday’s board meeting.

She advised the parent to speak with Principal George Harris, who was in the audience.

During Wednesday morning’s interview, Walters said the video was of the bully threatening the girl.

“The girl is on video by herself saying that she wants to fight this other student. If there is a threat on a video, you have to assume it’s serious. She is on social media,” Walters said.