MARSHFIELD, WI (OnFocus) – The Marshfield Unified School District released a statement to parents on Thursday afternoon, updating them about the recent increase in fighting at the school and social media posts about those altercations.
Dr. Ryan Christianson said in a letter to parents that over the last two weeks, there have been three physical altercations between students at the high school. The incidents were separate incidents and had come as a “culmination of differing conflicts that had arose between the parties involved.”
He said a separate and unrelated situation occurred on Monday afternoon in which multiple Marshfield Police Officers were called to the school to help assist the School Resource Officer with a student who had become noncompliant with school administration, created a disruption in the main office and had resisted arrest.
Christianson told parents that the school district is taking measures to ensure that these fights are dealt with and discontinued.
“As a school district, we take these matters and school safety very seriously,” Christianson said. “Among other measures, the high school is focusing on increased adult presence and supervision in areas where problems have occurred. School district and law enforcement consequences have and will continue to be issued. Positive and appropriate behaviors will continue to be modeled and reinforced. As an added precaution, students and staff may notice an increased police presence in and around the high school as well.”
Fights that depicted student on student violence as well as students resisting the attempts of officers and teachers to break up and detain the students had been recorded and posted on an Instagram account. The letter referenced social media as a cause of the conflict between students. The district called for parents to monitor their kids’ social media accounts for improper behavior.
“This situation serves as another good example of why it is important for our families to monitor their children’s social media activity and speak with them about proper behavior online,” Christianson said. “Inappropriate social media activity can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety for our students, families, and staff.”
Christianson ensured parents that Marshfield is a safe place to learn and said demanding difficult student behaviors have increased district-wide.
“While there have been and will continue to be various incidents of challenging student behaviors that need to be addressed by school staff and the administration, we remain confident the high school is a safe and secure learning environment for our students and staff,” Christianson said. “This school year has been an extremely challenging year for our students, families, and staff, and the high school is not alone in this regard; school district staff in all our buildings have faced an increase in demanding and difficult student behaviors.”
School Resource Officer Matt Berres said they are working to report the Instagram and get it taken down but a new account pops up as soon as they can get one taken down.
Berres said parents can help their kids and district staff by having open lines of communication with their kids about issues going on at school.
“If your kid is having an issue with another kid or if there’s harassment that is ongoing, they need to report it to us,” Berres said. “A lot of times they let it fester and then it turns into a fight so if there’s something going on with another peer, they need to come talk to us about it so we can deal with it.”
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