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Story - Education

Oct 20, 2010 4:33 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Raucous Meeting Focuses On Fights At Southampton High School

Oct 20, 2010 4:33 PM

Dr. Mundell opened Monday’s meeting by saying rumors had “run amok and out of control,” but that the district had been in close communication with police, and an investigation was launched immediately after learning of the supposed threat. He added that “the individual being portrayed as the perpetrator is really the victim” in the incident and said the original text message had been deleted before officials could see it, and that no students interviewed claimed to have experienced the threat firsthand but said they had only heard it from others.

Parents fired off a salvo of questions, complaints and outbursts directed at first-year principal Dr. Mundell, criticizing the handling of the event as well as what they thought was poor performance by school security guards. When Dr. Mundell switched gears to talk about last week’s assault involving students that injured one girl, there was an uproar among many parents after he referred to it as a “minor altercation.”

“It’s not minor!” one parent shouted. “Why were the two students back in school the next day?” another demanded, to applause. “Nothing was done. Nothing was done till the next day,” one woman muttered.

Two 17-year-old students were arrested by Village Police last Friday and accused of attacking a freshman girl on the football field during a fire drill last Thursday, October 14, Detective Sergeant Lamison said. The seniors were each charged with assault in the third degree and endangering the welfare of a child, both misdemeanors, and harassment in the second degree, a violation. The 14-year-old victim, who was treated for her injuries—including multiple contusions and footprints on her back from the older girls “stomping” her—at Southampton Hospital and released, was issued an order of protection, according to Det. Sgt. Lamison, who said police believe the fight took place over a boy and that tensions had escalated over the weeks leading up to the fight. The victim told police she was on the bleachers during the drill when the seniors pushed her against a fence and then to the ground.

Dr. Mundell tried to defend the school’s handling of the incident by saying the school needed time to receive the appropriate information and that the two accused girls were Board of Cooperative Educational Services students. But the salvo of questions only intensified. Others shouted over one another with critical words about the performance of the school security guards. “Three security people is absolutely out of control. Forget your turf field. Forget your lights,” hollered one woman in an accusatory tone, referring to recent additions to the school’s athletic field. “We need some security. We need our kids to be safe. And you need to hold up your mission statement that this is a safe environment—I don’t think it is.” The audience applauded those comments.

Administrators encouraged the parents to use Google Groups, an online discussion feature that the high school started this year. Dr. Dyno urged parents to reach out to administrators if they hear of any incidents and he guaranteed they would receive a response.

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These parents actually need to take a long deep breath and then a long deep look in the mirror. Not until I had kids did I realize that it is up to us, the parents as to how they carry themselves. There is nothing a school or any teacher can do about a criminal student who is set on committing a crime. It started long before that kid got into that school. Teachers were hired to teach and help your child succeed, not to serve as prison guards. But if you were to listen to hollywood and the media, ...more
By yessiree (78), Southampton on Oct 19, 10 12:26 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By whoknows (5), Southampton on Oct 19, 10 1:03 PM
PTO5 Does it really matter what happend to Dr. Mundell? The man fell ill, have some compassion. Bet you could do a better job right? Where you at the football game that night to support the football team to really see what happened or just a rumor starter? I take it you were one of those parents shouting. Maybe take your child out of the school and put him in a bubble or another school because it wouldn't happen their right. If we all took responsibility for our own children, the world would ...more
By whoknows (5), Southampton on Oct 19, 10 1:05 PM
Well said, yessiree. When a three-year student of mine told me he was going to have his father shoot me with a gun and kill me because the child was not happy with a simple school rule, I can tell you this agressive, inappropriate behavior starts way before many children hit the teenage years. Respect for others and authority, as well as boundaries, must be taught and reinforced in the homes. The schools cannot do it all. The community, families and schools need to work together to raise our ...more
By Mrs.Sea (268), Sag Harbor on Oct 19, 10 1:06 PM
3 members liked this comment
By MACDADDY (49), SOUTHAMPTON on Oct 19, 10 8:45 PM
3 members liked this comment
"Back in the day", my mother never hesitated to beat the crap out of me. She also never hesitated to pound one word into my head:


Respect for yourself, respect for others, respect for life. Have the decency to not only imagine what it must be like to be in someone else's shoes, but see through their eyes when you treat them in whatever manner you choose to.

Of course, one other thing we shouldn't forget, is that boys will be boys, and the testosterone is a mightily ...more
By Mr. Z (11832), North Sea on Oct 20, 10 3:09 PM
all caps = YELLING!
By loading... (601), quiogue on Oct 25, 10 3:12 PM
"According to Southampton Village Police records, police received an phone call on the morning of Tuesday, October 12, from an anonymous parent reporting that his ninth grade son told him a former student had issued the threat. When police called Dr. Mundell, the principal told police the school had received a similar anonymous call, police reports state. Dr. Mundell also told police that several students reported getting text messages saying that the gun violence would take place on Tuesday, October ...more
By SusieD (115), Southampton on Oct 19, 10 8:48 PM
What is going on at the school? This wasn't happening a few years ago. Something's changed. The administration seems to have lost the respect of the students who now feel that anything goes. I've been hearing that the school's been having serious internal problems. Perhaps the school board was too hasty getting rid of Dr Bruno.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Oct 19, 10 8:53 PM
This country is in the midst of a bullying insurgency. Parents talk to your kids. Parents of bullies, do not deny what is happening, take control.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Oct 19, 10 9:51 PM
2 members liked this comment
I agree completely, but kids who bully usually have parents who bully them or others...it's just a vicious cycle. Many parents don't want to take responsiblity for their kids behavior...out of sight out of mind. Like you said, it's all over the country. Kids today have much less respect for others than ever before..themselves, eachother and authority..
By Infoseeker (280), Hampton Bays on Oct 20, 10 6:56 AM
I doubt it's because of the changes in administration, it's just a toxic tenvironment where the kids are now in control...EVERYWHERE.
By Infoseeker (280), Hampton Bays on Oct 20, 10 6:58 AM
Waa Waa Waa! protect my children so that I can continue to ignore them at home!
By littleplains (305), olde england on Oct 20, 10 10:11 AM
Maybe it's time to have cell phones and like devices banned from the school day. They could be placed in lockers until the school is out for the day.
By K2040 (8), Southampton on Oct 20, 10 10:34 AM
Cell phones are not allowed in school, nor are other devices. Kids needing to use their phones - to call a parent about pick up times - have to go to the office to make those calls. Kids caught using their phones elsewhere have the phones taken away. I know, my son's was. He learned his lesson.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Oct 20, 10 11:01 AM
kids are angry because they don't feel like they have the same chances their parents had. they are being put onto their parents health insurance and ''child dependents'' until age 29, there are no jobs when they graduate from college - doesn't matter what your grades were, colleges are priced waaaaay to far out of most people's budgets (but all the politicians are pro-education) and they are sick of the lip service. they know the current administration is spending their future right now on union ...more
By yessiree (78), Southampton on Oct 20, 10 11:15 AM
2 members liked this comment
Come on dude.

High School sophomores arent getting into fights at school bc they dont think they can get a job after college.

Thats just idiotic.

By tm (174), mtk on Oct 20, 10 12:23 PM
I bet 99% of the kids who fight couldn't name the current administration if you offered them a million dollars - nice try though.
By whodat5 (12), southampton on Oct 20, 10 10:29 PM
The school adminstration needs to take a zero tolerance stance on violence in and around school grounds. Kids involved in such acts should be imediately suspended. Second offense, expel them Let them know that type of behavior is not acceptable anywhere. Let the teachers do their jobs for the kids who are serious about an education. They are not paid to babysit, police or handle everyones social issues, they are paid to educate our kids.
By lol@hb (20), hampton bays on Oct 20, 10 11:57 AM
2 members liked this comment
I totally agree. However, as soon as Johnny gets in trouble, the parents race down to the school, blame the problem on another child or the teacher, etc. Many hire attorneys. These parents don't want their kids suspended because then they would have to stay home with or handle their children themselves. The school administration has little power when there is not the support of the parents. It always troubles me when a teacher or administrator spends a great deal of his/her day disciplining ...more
By Mrs.Sea (268), Sag Harbor on Oct 20, 10 12:35 PM
Instead of expelling kids who get into a fight, a little education could stem the problem. It's a public high school--one that has $35,000 per year per student budgeted--is it too much to ask that the education have a social component as well as an academic one?
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Oct 20, 10 4:28 PM
Well I agreed with your response except for the part where you think students should be "expelled". That's a bit to harsh I think. Regardless, we have to give our children a good education. Maybe on second offense, "mandatory counseling along with suspension". And you are SO RIGHT about how our teachers are NOT babysitters to keep them out of trouble.
By whatsup1963 (3), Southampton on Oct 22, 10 8:20 PM
yessiree is not an idiot, but as the tiny buddah says, people see the world with whatever is in their hearts. in case you haven't read, childhood development experts are having a hard time because race relations and general populace anger is at an all time high, negative sentiment, positive outlook...all of that stuff is at an all time low. kids are affected by this. when the country feels good, it affects everything...when the news is all bad, adults and media portray anger, outrage and hopelessness, ...more
By mackt (73), montauk on Oct 20, 10 1:27 PM
as an example go to the article on this site that is written by a high school student. then go to the comments. an adult goes on to call this student an idiot and tear the article apart. the basis for the rage are socio-political issues of today. do you think that the child is immune? if it were me, i would be checking every day and then be totally hurt by that. but for all of the hot air blanketing the lands about pro education politicians, doesn't seem to matter does it. Not unless we get ...more
By mackt (73), montauk on Oct 20, 10 1:32 PM
If this is such a raucous meeting, why is that woman in the front row on the right sound asleep? Now, as for this bullying and so forth, I say, let it play itself out. The kids need to create their own pecking order, if you will, just like in real life, or in a steel cage match, or a pitt bull ring. A kid who is bullied all the time may finally work up the courage to slug someone, and it'll help him the rest of his life. If that happens to be a teacher or someone half his age, well I'm sorry. School ...more
By Manorville Major (16), manorville on Oct 20, 10 2:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
Yes i agree that us parents need to have better control on whats going on. I also agree us parents have our children to love them, take care of them and protect them so why can't the school do the same when our children are in their hands. Also there are rules and rules are you touch anyone you are suspended and the girls who did that werent suspended and then it got worse the next day, now thats the schools fault. I am on my second child in this school and i have one more to go into the school ...more
By Mommy (2), southampton on Oct 20, 10 4:14 PM
girls fighting over boys? Sounds very Italy to me. And yes , there is too much of that going around right now. Paladino is a disgrace. Please consider voting the RDH party for governor.
By deKooning (106), southampton on Oct 20, 10 4:21 PM
An AP in East Hampton was punched in the face by a student today - report on that and leave Southampton alone.
By whodat5 (12), southampton on Oct 20, 10 10:26 PM
Does Southampton School District have a positive behavioral support system in place? I'm sure when it comes down to it, an overwhelming majority of students in the schools are respectful, display self-control, and are working towards achieving goals they have made for themselves. The students who are causing the problems are a small number. More security guards are not the answer. Security guards can only try to stop a problem after it has begun. The real solution is stopping these problems before ...more
By BaymenNYC (59), Manhattan on Oct 23, 10 12:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
I agree that cellpones are part of the blame. Cell phone policies are a joke at schools, even teachers don't abide by the rules. So maybe school administrators should look at the technology that blocks out cell phone signals on school grounds. Then all would abide.................
By mrtog (7), wading river on Oct 27, 10 7:53 AM
1 member liked this comment