PORTLAND, Ore. – PORTLAND, Ore. – A fight captured on video on Monday is the latest evidence suggesting an increasingly violent culture at David Douglas High School.
In the most recent incident, a student said she fought back after being punched – and was suspended from school for her trouble.
The On Your Side Investigators obtained video that shows the girl being punched in the head while surrounded by a crowd of students who appear to be cheering on the fight.
“She had run up on me and she had punched me in the side of the head and then we brawled,” said the girl who appeared to be attacked first.
It’s not the first troubling incident involving David Douglas students recently.
Last month, three David Douglas students pleaded guilty after kidnapping a boy and carving a swastika in his head last year.
According to some students, the school hasn't addressed the situation.
The On Your Side Investigators uncovered statistics pointing to a recent spike in problems at the school.
From the 2011-12 school year to 2012-13, serious punishments jumped sharply.
Suspensions more than doubled, increasing from 496 to 1,092 during that period, and expulsions jumped from zero to 11, according to the Oregon Department of Education.
- David Douglas discipline 2010-2011 (pdf)
- David Douglas discipline 2011-2012(pdf)
- David Douglas discipline 2012-2013 (pdf)
KATU is not naming either student in Monday’s incident. The family turned to the On Your Side Investigators because they felt the district was trying to gloss over the attack instead of address their concerns. The victim insisted on speaking up and appearing on camera for our story; KATU News made the decision to record her interview in silhouette for her own protection.
The girl who appeared to be attacked said she believes she was ambushed after rumors circulated earlier in the day about a boy.
She claimed she often feels intimidated at David Douglas, and said she’s reported months of threats and verbal abuse to the school.
The apparent aggressor was suspended as well, but the girl’s mother said she wants her expelled.
“I'm proud,” the girl said. “I didn't just run away. I defended myself.”
Officials from the school refused to comment on the specifics of the incident.
“All of the questions you raise have been and are being discussed internally between all involved parties -- students, parents and administrators,” wrote district spokesperson Dan McCue. “But those conversations will remain where they belong, in private between the parties involved.”
Here is the district's full response:
I appreciate that you have questions. Unfortunately, again, this is an internal student disciplinary issue, and we cannot discuss it. All of the questions you raise have been and are being discussed internally between all involved parties -- students, parents and administrators. But those conversations will remain where they belong, in private between the parties involved.
The school and District do have policies in place regarding bullying and fighting. Those policies are never ignored by school administrators. You have our Students Rights and Responsibilities handbook and can refer to them there.
You are free to air one side of any story. But, again, the District cannot and will not publicly discuss an internal student discipline matter.
Thanks for understanding,