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Police presence has deterred fighting

Ben Godar

Police and school officials say a policy to curb fighting on campus

by issuing citations to students has been an effective deterrent.

It was two years ago that police adopt a “zero-toler- ance” policy

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for fighting at schools, Sgt. William Berry said. Rather than issue a

warning and allow the school to handle discipline by suspending

students, Berry said police began issuing citations to any student

involved in a fight.

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Depending on the severity of the fight, students may be charged

with disturbing the peace or some type of assault.

“The reason is to get them into court so a judge can explain the

consequences of their actions,” he said.

The first time a student is cited, they are usually sent with

their parents to Pasadena informal court, Berry said. There, they

meet with a judge outside of a courtroom and are warned about the

potential consequences of future incidents, he said. A judge can also

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provide counseling and even order the child to attend, something

Berry said parents are often grateful for.

Because the types of citations police issue vary, Berry said it is

difficult to calculate the effects on the total number of fights, but

he believes it has reduced such incidents.

Burroughs High School Principal Emilio Urioste said the policy has

been a strong deterrent.

“Word gets around,” he said. “Once it affects a student, they

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start talking and become aware of it.”

Urioste said parents are also aware of the policy, and the threat

of having to go to court often makes them more inclined to intervene

if their child is causing trouble.

Officer Dan Turpin, school resource officer at John Muir Middle

School, said that any time students get in trouble, their primary

concern is not getting their parents involved.

School resource officers try to make sure all students know they

will be cited any time they are involved in a fight, Turpin said.

While it may not keep a student from getting into their first fight,

he said it prevents many from getting into a second.

“The whole idea is just so we can educate kids for the future,” he

said. “It informs them that next time they need to find another

solution instead of fighting.”


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