Officials in Flossmoor School District 161 Friday presented an alternative version of an altercation between students at Parker Junior High School following dismissal on Wednesday.
In a letter to parents sent late Friday, Superintendent Craig Doster and Principal Lynn Westerlund said the incident in the Parker bus loading area was a fight between two students.
In a Flossmoor police report – which was the basis for a story in the H-F Chronicle on Friday – the incident was described as an attack in which a 12-year-old boy was grabbed by another student and slammed down to the ground. According to the police report, the boy who was attacked remains hospitalized with a head injury at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. Police officials said Friday that they plan to interview the boy about the fight in the next few days.
“A verbal conflict between the two students started earlier in the day and at the conclusion of the day the students engaged in a physical fight,” Doster and Westerlund said. “Two administrators and one staff member responded immediately upon noticing the gathering of students. All students at the location of the fight dispersed, including the two combatants.”
Doster and Westerlund said school administrators were able to identify and locate one of the students and bring him back to Parker, where he was examined by the school health coordinator and released to his parent. The identity of the other student involved has since been determined, they said, adding that a third student made a video recording of the fight. He said that recording “has now made its way to media outlets.”
Student safety is a priority in Flossmoor District 161, the administrators said in the letter, and safety plans and procedures are in place and reviewed regularly.
“We appreciate that an incident like this can be unnerving to parents who entrust their children to our care each day and we hope that people do not view this incident as a representation of our junior high students as a whole,” they said.
The school district is working closely with the families and local authorities to bring this situation to an appropriate resolution, Doster and Westerlund said.
“The matter is being taken very seriously and we appreciate the continued support of our community as we work together to promote a safe and orderly learning environment for students and staff.”
The letter is posted on the Parker Junior High website.