Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 5:42 PM on Wednesday, February 22, 2012

HHS students suspended for 'Fight Club'



By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer

As the saying goes in the movie "Fight Club," based on Chuck Palahniuk's novel about a group of people who fight for entertainment, "the first rule of Fight Club is you don't talk about Fight Club."

To that could be added, if you do talk about Fight Club at Homer High School, and the principal overhears you at lunch talking about it, there will be consequences, as three Homer High School boys learned last week when they were suspended for organizing a club and fighting off campus on Valentine's Day in an adolescent version of the 1999 movie.

"We have numerous clubs, but not a Fight Club," Homer High School principal Alan Gee said. "It ain't gonna happen."

Two boys who fought off campus were examined by the school nurse and had minimal injuries, Gee said. The boys admitted to fighting. They and a third boy who organized the club received appropriate punishment. The penalty for fighting can be suspensions from 3 days up to 45 days, and, if serious enough, can include a recommendation of expulsion, Gee said. Citing student privacy, he did not identify the boys or the exact punishments they received.

Gee said it was only the third fight at the high school or involving students in the three years since he has been principal.

"Our students are well behaved. They're tolerant of each other," he said. "We celebrate diversity."

Gee learned that students left campus periodically to fight as a form of entertainment. At about noon on Feb. 14, Homer Police received a report of about 25 juveniles watching and participating in a fight at the end of FAA Road past the Homer Airport. The caller also said cars drove away, but did not get any license plates. The group was gone by the time police arrived, said Homer Police Chief Mark Robl.

School officials learned of the club and the boy who organized it. Gee said last Tuesday he met several students arriving late from off campus from their lunch break. He questioned them about the fighting and they were honest in their answers, he said. Those students did not get punished.

Homer High School has an open-campus policy allowing students to leave to eat at home or elsewhere during lunch.

"Hopefully, they make good choices during lunch," Gee said. "Obviously, this was not a good choice."

Gee said some students felt that because the incident happened off campus, it should not be a school matter. The incident caused a disruption at Homer High, and because it started and ended at the school, he treated it as a school issue, Gee said.

Students who abuse open-campus privileges lose them, Gee said. For the suspended students, their open-campus privileges will be reviewed when they return and it's likely they'll lose them.

Gee said he has not heard of any other planned fights or if video recording was done of the fights. Robl said police are treating the incident as a school matter.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

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