Mt. Vernon Register-News

October 12, 2013

MVTHS increases security

By TRAVIS MORSE travis.morse@register-news.com
The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON — Mt. Vernon Township High School was in a state of “heightened security” Friday after a fight on campus the previous day involving at least five students.

Even so, school officials consider Thursday's altercation an “isolated incident” and say the extra security was merely a precaution.

“There has been no evidence of any individual or specific threat against the campus or the students,” said Superintendent Michael Smith. “If any student is threatened on Facebook, we're asking them to bring it forward as evidence.”

The fight in question took place at around noon Thursday outside the school and involved “upperclassmen,” said MVTHS Principal Wes Olson.

School and police officials declined to confirm the exact circumstances of the incident. However, it did involve at least five students, one of whom was treated at a local hospital for a facial injury.

“Our staff and administrators have worked with local law enforcement to address the situation, both on the legal side and (for) the violation of school code,” Olson said. “That situation has been addressed and taken care of.”

Attendance at MVTHS was down on Friday, Smith said.

The security measures that day mainly consisted of an extra police presence on campus, as well as heightened vigilance by school staff. The campus was not in lockdown, Smith said.

“Safety and security is our first priority,” Smith said.

Mt. Vernon Police Chief Chris Mendenall confirmed Friday that three male juveniles were arrested as a result of the fight, and that no additional suspects are being sought.

Rumors circulating around town and online have blown the incident “way out of proportion,” Mendenall said.

It is common practice for police to supply additional security for MVTHS in the wake of an incident like this, he said.

“We only provided extra patrols to err on the side of caution,” Mendenall said. “(We) try to keep the peace, that's what we do.”

Smith said school officials will consult with law enforcement about whether to continue the heightened security on campus next week. No security problems were reported at the school Friday, he said.

Olson declined to specify how the school will discipline the students involved in the altercation. He did say that fighting is a major infraction.

“We take any type of violation of the code of conduct very seriously,” Olson said. “We enact the code and follow it (and we) take the necessary steps to make sure this is a safe and secure place for the students to be.”