More Grimsley fight spin


Today, GCS Board members speak out on last Friday’s massive brawl at Grimsley, via today’s News & Record.

uh boy…

Sometimes, I wish some of them wouldn’t open their mouths at all; it would be less painful.

Better buckle up, here we go.

N&R:   Four days after a fight disrupted activities at Grimsley, school officials say they are still investigating the facts.

Haley Miller, a spokeswoman for Guilford County Schools, said in an e-mailed statement that those findings will determine the actions school administrators take with students who were involved.

So far, two students have been arrested and charged and 14 have been suspended from school.

Translated: we don’t know what we’re going to do other than give them the standard 2-week vacation and then they’ll be right back in school. The so-called “GCS Discipline Policy” means jack.

I’m just getting started. It’s going to be a busy day here in blog-land.

More: Several school board members say that some of the issues that led to incidents such as last week’s fight are broad and defy simple resolution.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.  Board member Walter Childs said that many of the students involved come out of poverty. “They fight because they don’t have the same kinds of things other kids have,” he said.


The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.He said WHAT??? “They fight because they don’t have the same kinds of things other kids have…”

So…because many of our children come from poverty, this gives them a ticket or an excuse to settle differences violently and just duke it out on the school yard?

With all due respect, Doctor Childs, that’s a cop-out…that’s an excuse. Fighting doesn’t justify anything, and how DARE you try to justify this incident in this manner.

What little respect I had left for ole’ Walt is gone.


I don’t know if I can stomach anymore of this article, but it gets better…or worse.

More: Schools can’t handle the problems alone, he [Childs] said.

To combat those issues, Childs said, a number of things need to happen: Better jobs are needed to fight poverty; More role models are needed; More recreation facilities and programs are needed.

I’m going to hold my comment until this next excerpt:

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Board member Kris Cooke also cited a need for more programs that give children alternatives to getting into trouble. “You’ve just got to be innovative,” she said.

Fights have always taken place at schools, she said. But kids used to know they would get in trouble when they got home.

The fights aren’t just a problem for those involved, Cooke said. They also disrupt the learning process for others.

“I think it’s a terrible distraction,” she said. “Kids get upset, parents get upset … It’s a distraction for the teachers.”


STOP THE TAPE…I’m shaking in my seat here.

First off, she’s been on the board how long…Kris has had plenty of opportunities to introduce things that are “innovative.” And what are those “innovative strategies” you speak of, Kris?

Hello? Hello? Anybody there?

Talk about a waste of a school board seat…I’ll remind you, she’s up for reelection next year. Any takers for her seat yet? Secondly, let me pause to bring you her comment back on November 2, in reference to the late-October fight at Page H.S.:

“That type of activity cannot occur in a school,” Cooke said. “It is a learning environment, for students who want to learn. There has to be consequences. It has to be a safe learning environment.”

Yes, Kris, it’s terrible. It’s a distraction. It cannot occur. So what are you going to do about it?

Ahh…yes, my third point; rewind her comments in today’s N&R article: Board member Kris Cooke also cited a need for more programs that give children alternatives to getting into trouble. 

More programs!  Just what Walt said earlier…more programs.

You know what? No more…no more programs. How about rule enforcement?


The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Today’s News & Record also inks an editorial on the incident…here it is in its entirety:

 ‘Like a Boxing Match’

Bad blood spilled over, once again, onto a local school campus last week.

Barely before the school day had a chance to begin Friday morning, a chaotic string of fistfights broke out at Grimsley High School, unnerving bystanders, disrupting classes, causing several minor injuries and prompting two arrests. “There was a lot of yelling and screaming,” one student told the News & Record. “… There was a lot of blood on the floor.”

“It was like a boxing match,” said another, who admitted to being involved in the fighting.

Sad to say, it wasn’t the first such incident on a local school campus. In November, 12 students clashed in a nasty fracas at Southern Guilford High School. In October, six Page High School students were arrested after a fight erupted in the school’s cafeteria and spun out of control, ultimately involving an estimated 25 students.

More than 30 police officers were summoned to restore order.

First and foremost, such behavior cannot be tolerated. Those who took part in the fighting deserved stern disciplinary action, and Grimsley delivered it on Monday, suspending 14 students in connection with the brawl.

School officials owed as much to the vast majority of students at Grimsley, who don’t fight and are there to do what they are supposed to do: learn. The same goes for teachers and staff at Grimsley, who presumably signed on to teach lessons and provide guidance, not to referee impromptu hallway boxing matches.

Critics rightly cite racially disparate suspension statistics as a cause for concern. For instance, Guilford Schools Superintendent Terry Grier said Monday that “a black male student is 44 times more likely to be suspended at Grimsley.”

Grier said those numbers indicate a broader problem, but he added, “You don’t come to school and brawl.”

The ugliness that occurred Friday called for a tough response, regardless of race, and got it. That said, school officials shouldn’t be willing to throw away the key, either. Punishment alone isn’t the answer. The whole community needs to attack the root issues underlying these conflicts. “If you don’t deal with it, it will not go away,” Grier said.

There is a natural impulse to label such incidents as school problems. But they are clearly community problems that will require community solutions.

Toward that end school officials have planned a meeting today with Grimsley staff, school system administrators, Greensboro Housing Authority officials, clergy and police officials to address the root causes of the disputes and the violence that followed. Most importantly parents also have been invited. “It’s a good starting place,” Grier said.

Grier also mentioned a number of other planned measures, including increased campus security officers for the remainder of the school year and the installation of security cameras. But what happens beyond school grounds will be just as crucial.

The dispute between students from two rival public housing communities, Cumberland Courts Apartments and Hampton Homes, did not begin on the Grimsley campus. Nor did the Page incident. In both cases students chose to bring long-standing grievances onto school grounds.

One of the students involved in the various fights described the brawling as a means of defending the honor of his neighborhood. Ironically, his actions, and those of too many of his classmates, did precisely the opposite.


I have two issues to analyze with this editorial. Browse back to this section: School officials owed as much to the vast majority of students at Grimsley, who don’t fight and are there to do what they are supposed to do: learn. The same goes for teachers and staff at Grimsley, who presumably signed on to teach lessons and provide guidance, not to referee impromptu hallway boxing matches.


When I was an English teacher at Andrews H.S., I regularly broke up hallway and classroom fights. When I subbed, I regularly broke up classroom fights. Breaking up fights is not in a teachers contract. In fact, administrators and school resource officers at Andrews regularly told teachers not to get involved and to wait for the SRO or someone in authority to break it up and to “let them kill themselves.”

I can’t even comment on that last remark.

Next: Critics rightly cite racially disparate suspension statistics as a cause for concern. For instance, Guilford Schools Superintendent Terry Grier said Monday that “a black male student is 44 times more likely to be suspended at Grimsley.” Let’s set the record straight. We may be finding out as early as today if Dr. Grief is going to San Diego.  If so, let’s wish him well, because he can’t leave soon enough. If not, then we need to grill this man on just why this is so.

And if it is the case, what have you done, sir, to address this?

Hello? Hello? Anybody there?


I’ll close with this…I’m receiving letters from Grimsley students, past and present. Under condition of anonymity, one student shared some cold, hard, yet intimate facts and advice on what needs to be done both at Grimsley, and practically all of our schools:

Kids are not getting educated, they are
getting standardized, and it is scary. The teachers
are not in control of their classrooms, they are not
trusted with the power……I could rant all night,
but I assure you I have spent the past 4 years of
school looking at the problems, bridging the racial
gap, building a community, and now I look to support
it. I have theoretical solutions to the real problems
we face.

It is time some of the grown-ups stop, and listen to the children. Because it is clear that many of them are acting with a little more sense and sensibility.

E.C. 🙂


5 Responses

  1. How are new programs supposed to address fights between kids from rival neighborhood “groups”? I’d like for Kris Cooke and Walter Childs explain what programs are needed to solve the problem. I’m sure that they can come up with a program that will absorb some tax funds, but it is not likely that the program will actually make any improvements. they’ll probably say a midnight basketball league. But, wait…what are high school kids doing out at midnight during the week anyway?

    With the shrinking participation in school band, and the matching reduction in commitment by the schools to school bands, why not reinvigorate school bands as a first new program and do it after school? Watcha say Cookie?

  2. Reform schools worked well in their day. Expulsions worked well for removing troublemakers.

    Today’s politically correct society is terrified of any consequences that expose certain ethnic groups as having higher than average behavior problems. This is where standardization comes into play. Make everyone equal. No expulsions, no separate school for troublemakers. Ruin the quality of education for all to keep from offending anyone.

    We deserve what we have as a society collectively created– a mediocre educational system that mass produces drones for service jobs. Only those parents with the foresight to push their kids beyond the State/Federal accepted education standards, which are a joke in today’s technological socieity, will see any achievement worthy of note.

  3. Most of these fights are gang related– always have been in Greensboro– and yet our leaders still try to sweep them under the table all these years later. When I was a victim of gang violence at Dudley in 1970 the school system denied that it happened on school property until an assistant principal spoke up and admitted that he found me lying on the floor of the school building in a pool of my own blood and had a teacher drive me to the emergency room.

    Yes, there are racial tones and economic tones to some of these issues but as long as gangs, be they neighborhood gangs or national gangs, are allowed cart blanc there will be no way to deal with the problems.

    And may I remind everyone that the Bloods and Crips were also neighborhood gangs 40 years ago and were founded by two former best friends.

  4. The sad truth is that more and more kids whose parents actually care about their education will begin to take their kids out of public schools in favor of home schooling or private schools. Who will be left in the public schools at that time? And the teachers who really don’t seem to give a care about the students will start to stand up and take notice when their jobs are threatened by an ever-decreasing demand for their services. There was a time when teachers cared about each and every student. But in getting to know my kids’ teachers in the last 3 years, those teachers are rare. Now there are a bunch of teachers who got into the profession because they get summers off. So how do you think a kid will act when noone cares at home and noone cares at school?

    Programs aren’t it. And you can’t make parents care about their kids if they don’t. If the public school is to become a place of discipline and learning than the change needs to happen in school with teachers who care about the failing kids just as much as they do about ones who excel. And administrators who are unafraid to hold kids accountable to the letter of the laws they create. If fighting is supposed to result in expulsion, then so be it. Giving a kid a “break” only invites him/her to test the limits again and that is what is happening.

    You can’t change the environment a kid lives in. Better jobs are a joke. I’ve seen crack addicts with really good jobs whose kids were just as deprived as a struggling unemployed family. You can give a parent a great paying job but you can’t force the parent to make their children a priority. What you can do is establish boundaries and behavioural standards for the environment a child finds himself in at school and enforce the rules of that “society” for the good of it so that the child begins to see the benefits of acceptable behaviour. But if that society is run by people who are self-centered and only there for their own benefit instead of the benefit of the child, then it collapses and chaos will rule eventually. Teachers should always have the child as their top priority.

  5. Well-said, very well-spoken. Welcome aboard, glad to have you here.

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