Englewood Schools backpedals, acknowledges existence of ‘fight club’

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- A disturbing video that made the rounds on social media shows an Englewood Middle School student beating up on a fellow female student.  The mother of the girl shown in the video receiving punches, is speaking out saying this is part of a dangerous trend and more must be done to stop it.

A spokeswoman for the school district called the fight an isolated incident when FOX31 first reached out for comment, but a statement sent to parents Saturday  night acknowledged the widespread problem.

Ina Robertson says her daughter was the victim of what she describes as bullying and a fight club.

Robertson says the fight happened at the school on Thursday. A video of the fight shows her daughter pulled by her book bag by the other female student, and then punched on the head multiple times.

Eventually you see her daughter get up and walk away.

Robertson says she doesn’t believe the school is doing enough in terms of discipline or her concerns that this is part of a larger problem. She says she’s seen social media pages that encourage students to beat up others, record it, and post the video online.

“There’s one scene where they recorded my daughter’s hair. They recorded it and told my child: ‘Come get your hair. I see you.’ You know it’s terrible behavior. Who would do such a terrible thing like that? Encourage their behavior?” questioned Robertson.

When FOX31 initially reached out to the Englewood School District about the fight, the district’s spokeswoman said this was a fight between two middle school girls over a boy and was an isolated incident. Turns out, it wasn't.

When asked about concerns over a ‘fight club’ the spokesperson insisted this was an isolated incident and the student responsible is facing disciplinary action.

We asked about the video of the fight circulating on social media and her response was:

“Of course we are concerned about the video because it sensationalizes a violent and disturbing incident. Unfortunately, social media allows for disturbing isolated incidents to be shared and aggrandized, resulting in the retraumatization of the students and families involved.”

A spokesperson for the Englewood Police Department confirmed the incident and said one female juvenile was issued a summons for assault. We asked about the alleged fight club and the spokesperson said the department would look into it and get back to us.

Meanwhile, Robertson says her daughter suffered a concussion during the fight. Doctors told Robertson her daughter would have to rest for 7-10 days. She doesn’t know if she wants her daughter to return to the school after her rest period.

A letter sent to parents Saturday night from the Superintendent of Englewood Schools acknowledged the existence of the fight clubs at the school and their presence on social media:

"Dear Englewood Families,

I would like to make you aware of a situation that occurred at Englewood Middle School and that you may have heard about on the news. On April 5, one student assaulted another student as part of a disagreement the two had been having. The student responsible is now facing disciplinary and legal action; we involve Englewood Police after any fight or incident of violence. Unfortunately, this incident was filmed by other students and posted on social media.

We have since become aware that videos of fights that have occurred over time at the Englewood Campus are being housed on certain social pages/groups and referred to as a “Fight Club” or “Englewood Fights”. We are working to find the individuals responsible for any pages/groups and plan to hold them accountable. Additionally, as we identify these sites, we will send formal notice to the social media outlets that host these pages making it clear that we vehemently oppose their practices that provide a platform for these types of videos, and that these sites present very real negative consequences for children and communities. We are concerned that social media allows for such disturbing incidents to be shared and aggrandized, resulting in the retraumatization of the students and families involved. We will request that these pages/groups be shut down and banned.

Student safety and well-being are our number one priority. We take violence of any kind very seriously. We will continue to work with students and our security staff members on the prevention of fights that happen on our campus. Beginning Monday, April 7, we will be increasing our security presence at the Englewood Campus and revisiting training for our staff on how to prevent and safely mitigate potential conflicts between students.

We also ask that as parents and caretakers, you speak with your student about ways to resolve disagreements without violence, and that you encourage your student to refrain from watching or sharing videos of such incidents. If someone is sharing or posting videos of fighting, please notify an administrator so that appropriate action can be taken and concerns may be addressed as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your support and assistance."

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