Superintendent Says Patch Sensationalized Fight, 'Gang' Tension
Superintendent of Schools Melinda Thies says extra police presence at Mt. Hope High School was because of media.
Bristol Warren Regional School District Superintendent of Schools Melinda Thies blames Bristol Warren Patch for the heightened security and police presence at Mt. Hope High School today.
Thies said Patch “sensationalized the issue” when it reported on an after-school fight that sent one victim to the hospital and sparked a wave of students feuding and threatening each other on Facebook Thursday night.
When students arrived at school Friday morning, they were greeted by numerous police cruisers, officers on the grounds and in the school, and school faculty actively keeping an eye on things.
The injured student is a member of a high school clique known as the “Juggalos,” and the attack launched debate about whether the Juggalos are victims of bullying, whether they’re a “gang,” and whether there would be retribution. Members of the Juggalos say they’re not a gang, just a group of friends. They refer to themselves as a “family.”
Thies said she wants to promote that it’s a safe environment at the school, that the problems are being taken care, and that the school department and Bristol Police Department are working together.
She said she walked the corridors at the high school this morning, and she’ll be returning to do the same this afternoon.
“The school is orderly, administrators are walking around, classes are in place. It’s a normal day, but there is heightened police activity,” Thies said.
Asked if the school administration monitors student Facebook activity and takes Facebook threats seriously, Thies hesitated, then said, “yes, but we forward that information on to the police.”
Thies also said the Bristol Warren Patch report “did an injustice to the school … and made it out to be more than it is. This stuff happens everywhere.”
She said the extra police presence was because of “the media.” Before the start of school this morning, the only media coverage was on Bristol Warren Patch.