Fight leads Kentwood High principal to seek refocus on kindness

In response to a fight that broke out on a recent afternoon, the principal of Kentwood High School wants parents and students to “refocus on being a community of kindness.”

An argument between two students led to a fight at about 2:25 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 25, just five minutes after the school dismissal bell, according to an email sent to parents by Principal Samantha Ketover. Students were leaving campus at the Covington school, 25800 164th Ave. SE., and staff supervised.

“The argument between the two students escalated to a fight,” Ketover said in the email. “Not only did this pose a safety risk to the two students, one of our school safety officers was injured. This staff member works day in and day out to build relationships with students. The staff member received immediate medical attention and will be OK.”

A report was filed with the King County Sheriff’s Office, which contracts to provide police services to the city of Covington as well as the Kent School District.

“We understand this matter involved two students with a staff member sustaining a minor injury while attempting to intervene,” said Manny Apostol, community engagement specialist for the Sheriff’s Office, in an email to the Kent Reporter. “We are, at this time, not recommending charges and will defer to the school district for further information.”

Ketover asked in her email for parents and students to help reduce violence.

“I am asking your partnership,” said Ketover, the Kentwood principal since 2018. “Although this fight will be investigated and students will be held accountable according to Washington state law, Kent School District policy and procedure and Kentwood expectations, we need to refocus on being a community of kindness.”

Ketover didn’t provide specific numbers, but said the number of fights are up at the school that has about 1,850 students.

“Just over a month ago I wrote the community and shared the number of fights this (school) year to date does represent an increase in the number compared to this time prior to the pandemic (in March 2020),” said Ketover, who was an assistant principal at Kentridge High for six years prior to coming to Kentwood. “Unfortunately, this is a trend that is present within our district, state and nation. I also stated we will continue to respond to this increase in fight behavior.

“Please encourage your child to be kind, to solve their problems without violence and to stay focused on school.”

Someone posted a video of the fight to social media.

“Regrettably, a video of today’s fight was posted to social media,” said Ketover, who taught science for nine years at Kentridge prior to becoming an administrator. “I continue to be concerned that the actions of a few and posts on social media are leading people in our community to form an inaccurate perception of Kentwood.”

The principal emphasized the fights need to stop.

“A small number of students have fought this year,” she said. “I will restate that violence is not an acceptable way to address conflict and endangers the safety of the community.”

Ketover concluded her email to parents with this statement:

“We continue to be committed to the safety of your children,” she said.

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Article Source: Kent Reporter