Ola High School food fight situation gets messier - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Ola High School food fight situation gets messier

Cell phone video showed the aftermath of the food fight February 1 Cell phone video showed the aftermath of the food fight February 1

Parents told CBS Atlanta News some Ola High School students in McDonough planned a food fight and also a walk-out Friday in retaliation for punishment for a previous food fight.

School leaders warned punishment, including possible criminal charges, could be carried out if students proceeded.

The first food fight happened in the cafeteria on February 1. It lead to several students getting arrested and eventually expelled for the remainder of the school year.

"I was willing to take whatever punishment they gave me and make the  most of it, but I feel this just went way too far," said Mitchell Daniel, an expelled student.

Many parents agreed.

"He (Mitchell) got the same offense as if he brought a gun to school, or if he brought drugs or alcohol to school," said David Daniel, Mitchell's father.

However, others said enough is enough.

"I think the parents need to grow up; set an example for their children, and the parents are not respecting the authorities at the school. When a parent doesn't show respect, than a child's not going to show respect," said Jane Askew Rutledge, a former paraprofessional at the school.

Parents said school leaders emailed them late Thursday. It said students who participate in a walk-out Friday face up to a two-day suspension. Those who are caught in a food fight could be kicked-out of school. Both offenses could also result in criminal charges for "disruption of a public school".

The letter read:

"As you all know this has been a very difficult week for our school and our community. I know that each one of you has your own opinion about what happened and the manner in which it has been addressed by the school, the school system, and the law enforcement agencies. It is my hope that we can soon move beyond the divide that currently exists, learn from this experience, and emerge a better school and a stronger community than we were before.

"I wanted to make you aware that we are hearing strong rumors about some activities planned for tomorrow at Ola High School. As with the rumors last week, we certainly hope that they remain just that - rumors. With last week's experience, however, the administration did not want to leave anything to chance and have made a decision to inform you, the parents and guardians, of our concerns.

"We have heard from multiple sources that there is another food fight planned for tomorrow. If that is the case, everyone needs to understand that the consequences will remain the same. Those that participate will be taken to a disciplinary hearing. Those that participate will also face the possibility of being arrested and charged with disruption of a public school among other possible charges. Student arrests and charges are the decisions and responsibility of local law enforcement.

"We have also heard of a potential walk-out. Please be advised that students that leave the building without permission to do so will receive a minimum 2 day Out of School Suspension. Those students that have already received discipline consequences for other infractions during the year will receive the next appropriate out of school suspension step. Since walking out of the school during the school day is clearly a Disruption of a Public School it is possible that participating students will also be charged. Student arrests and charges are the decisions and responsibility of local law enforcement.

"It breaks my heart that I am sending out a message such as this. Our administration and staff have historically enjoyed a wonderful relationship with our students. We have always been able to work together to both address concerns and create fun and memorable opportunities for our students. The adults at Ola value that relationship. My sincere hope is that we can work our way through this difficult time and once again be able to say that WE ARE OLA!"

Some parents said they planned to keep their children home Friday to avoid trouble.

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