Pine Bush school district clamps down after two days of student fights

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PINE BUSH – The Pine Bush Central School District is the latest in the region to be confronted with student fights. There were two incidents – one on Wednesday and a second on Thursday, which was apparently an outgrowth of the earlier one, Interim Superintendent Donna Geidel told Mid-Hudson News in an emailed statement.

Her message to students and parents: “This behavior will not be tolerated. We are putting everyone on notice that there will be significant disciplinary consequences for any physical aggression and/or insubordination.” The district will also involve law enforcement “to the extent that it is legally possible,” she said.

Following the incidents of the past two days, the district is clamping down with several mitigation measures being implemented, including:

  • Pass restrictions;
  • Extra staff in the hallways in between periods;
  • Limited release from study halls;
  • Extra staff at student arrival and dismissal and in the cafeteria;
  • Students must remain seated in the cafeteria;
  • Additional security guards in the building, and;
  • Additional police presence in and around the school.

Geidel released some of the details of the incidents at the high school.
(Student video of two incidents. Caution; language may be inappropriate to some.)

On Wednesday, she said a male student had a physical altercation with a female student outside the attendance office.

The situation was investigated, families were contacts, and appropriate disciplinary consequences were administered, the superintendent said. “Unfortunately, the conflict between these two students continued in the community and escalated by other students getting involved on social media,” she said.

The situation “spiraled throughout the school day (on Thursday) and other physical altercations and fights broke out that were directly related to (Thursday’s) incident.”

Geidel said staff quickly de-escalated every separate incident with no injuries. “However, the number of incidents were traumatic for our students because they did not feel safe.”

She said while social media is not the only cause of violence at the high school, “it is absolutely a catalyst for escalating an already tense situation.”

She said students are plotting and posting threats and sharing videos of verbal and physical altercations.

“When incidents occur, students are flocking toward the altercations to capture it on video. This poses a safety hazard to everyone in the vicinity,” Geidel said. Her message to students is that if they see something occurring, “stay away from it.”