Florin High School in Sacramento is getting national notoriety, but not for reasons they’d hoped for.
A video, seen more than a quarter of a million times on YouTube as of Thursday night, shows Don Ross, the school’s principal, being body slammed to the ground by a student, as Ross tried to break up a fight inside the school Monday.
As a result of the national backlash, the Elk Grove Unified School District invited parents to discuss the incident with school officials and law enforcement, voice their concerns and create a dialogue through which the Florin High community could find a path toward mitigating future incidents.
It was a moment that put Florin High School on the map, for all the wrong reasons, according to Ross.
“To see it spread across the nation is hurtful,” he said to the crowded multi-purpose room.
Parents and administrators gathered to, as they put it, begin the healing process.
Each school in the district employs a sheriff’s reserve officer. Many parents like Vanessa Brown brought up the need for more school security and more opportunity for parents to engage with students in a school setting.
“That’s the biggest thing,” Brown said. “Parents need to be involved with their children. Come to the school. Don’t wait for your child to be in trouble.”
Officials promised better communication with parents, beginning with automated messages in cases like this one.
While the overwhelming majority felt good about the meeting, not everyone walked out happy.
Delia Orosco’s daughter recorded the video of the fight that eventually went viral. She was suspended along with the students involved in it.
“I feel that they were more concerned about their reputation, the school’s, other than my daughter’s well-being,” said Orosco.
Ross said school policy dictates no recording or running toward fights because it presents a safety concern.
When asked, however, if any of the other students who appeared to have run toward the fight in the video were suspended, Ross did not have an answer.
“I can’t tell you right now, I don’t have that,” Ross said.
The students directly involved in the fight were suspended, according to Ross, and may face criminal charges.
A number of parents commended the school for its handling of the fight with the hope it won’t have to handle many more.