SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - The Mont Pleasant Middle School in Schenectady has permanently suspended 18 students after a rash of bad behavior, including an all-girl fight club.
Superintendent Larry Spring says the 18 students, both boys and girls, will not be allowed to return to the school after a long series of bad behavior and disrespectful attitude to teachers and administrators.
Spring says he is trying to turn things around at the middle school. First, by first expelling the students, some who are now 16-years old and still in middle school because they had been held back so often. Spring says those students may end up going to the high school with additional support, or in alternative programs. He says some require emotional care with social workers.
"It's not just one issue, there are multiple issues," Spring said. "It doesn't make sense for them to be here."
Then there's the issue with fighting. Spring says there were a group of girls that had a "fight club" in which they would start fights for no apparent reason, just to earn a "number one" rank among their peers. He says the fights are prearranged and occur off school property so they can't be broken up by staff.
"If kids fight, a lot of times they fight in school because school is a safe place. Someone is going to break it up very soon," he says. "So when kids want to fight outside of school that worries us for a whole host of other reasons. That means that it's not going to get broken up and they want it to go on."
Neighbors of Mont Pleasant Middle School say dismissal time is a mad house, and it's not just students that are the problem - Parents have been fighting other parents, as well. Even the school principal is recovering from being hit while trying to break up a fight.
Spring says the school has identified the girls involved and is now reaching out to their parents. He says he's optimistic that they will want to help their daughters.
As for fights on school grounds, Spring says there is a police presence at the school and he has shifted school staff to assist during dismissal.