Violent Middle School Brawl Leads To ‘Stampede’ On Campus

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Parents of students at a California middle school were outraged after a violent brawl led to a “stampede” on campus. Fed up with administrators, frustrated parents descended on a school meeting, demanding something be done. Are they right to be furious with the school?

Sinaloa Middle School
Sinaloa Middle School in Novato, California (Photo Credit: Google Maps)

Administrators of Sinaloa Middle School in Novato, California, quickly came under fire after a massive brawl at the North Bay school sparked a “stampede” on campus, igniting frustrations among parents. The “stampede” occurred when a female student was attacked by three other students, causing several hundred students to rush to see the fight, which was caught on video.

Following the incident, the principal emailed parents, saying students were aware the day before the fight that it was going to happen, leading hundreds to run across campus hoping to see it unfold.

“This resulted in a very large stampede of our students (several hundreds of them) rushing around the campus to seek out the fight to watch it happen,” the principal then explained. “This mob grew in size as they ran through the campus, causing some students to fall and literally be run over by others.”

Sinaloa Middle School
Video from Sinaloa Middle School captured three students beating a girl as a crowd of kids looked on. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

In the same email, the principal attempted to reassure parents that the issue was being addressed, promising “severe consequences … for the students culpable of causing physical harm to the other student.” Those words did little to quell increasing frustrations. Instead, parents remained outraged, descending on a meeting held at the school days later to discuss how administrators were working to curb violence on campus. The meeting was standing room only for parents.

After receiving video footage of the fight, KTVU attempted to attend the meeting. However, the local news crew was asked to leave. No explanation was given as to why they were not permitted to sit in on the discussion taking place on the public school campus. However, that didn’t stop reporters from talking to parents outside the school, where they learned some students were afraid to return to campus.

“She’s not happy to come to school some days because she doesn’t know it’s going to happen,” Jim McAlpine, a father of a student at Sinaloa, explained. “To be a sixth grader coming to school being scared is a big, big problem.”

The girl in gray pants was attacked and beaten on the ground by three other students at Sinaloa Middle School (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

It’s easy to see why students are fearful after seeing footage of the fight, which took place on a Friday and showed the female student on the ground as three other students attacked her. Not only are students afraid of being harmed themselves in a violent attack, but some are even afraid to step in and break up such fights, scared they will get hurt or in trouble, other parents explained.

“We have boys who have volunteered information, they would get in there. They would help, but in today’s society, you can’t. They were worried about getting in trouble themselves,” Gina, the mom of a student, explained.

Unsurprisingly, alleged bullying has been blamed, with the parents of one of the attackers alleging that her daughter was getting revenge against her alleged bully, the NY Post reported. This seems to be somewhat supported by other parents’ claims that this incident was far from a first on campus. Instead, parents allege bullying and violence have been ongoing issues and are nothing new for the school.

“The bullying has become a huge problem, and I’m hoping that we can address this through this year and for the kids that don’t feel safe,” parent Pam Laidley told ABC 7.

The fight at Sinaloa Middle School triggered a mass stampede of students, who trampled each other to see the fight, according to school officials. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Jim McAlpine, whose older daughter was a former student at the school and a victim of violence on campus, seemed to agree that the school had a huge problem with bullying.

“Honestly, from my perspective, the school didn’t even deal with it at all,” McAlpine alleged. “They brushed it under the rug. This was three years ago, so for three years, I’ve been watching systemic violence.”

McAlpine isn’t alone. Other parents agree that nothing is really being done to address the issue of school violence, and parents reportedly felt just as flustered after the meeting as when they walked in. With the way the meeting was allegedly conducted, it’s easy to understand why parents are frustrated with school officials, who reportedly only took questions that were written down on index cards. The questions were then filtered, so administrators only answered the questions they wanted to answer.

Sinaloa Middle School
After the incident at Sinaloa Middle School, frustrated parents attended a meeting, hoping to express their concerns. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

This, of course, caused more concern from already fed-up parents, like McAlpine, who accused the school officials of caring about their reputation more than the well-being and safety of students.

“I feel like the school is trying to address the issue in a way that’s not direct,” McAlpine said. “They don’t want to make any admissions. They’re trying to avoid saying a lot of things. I believe they care but I believe they care a lot more about their reputation.”

While the school most definitely has work to do, we can’t ignore the fact that three students chose to violently assault a female student. Then, other students decided to trample each other in a “stampede” in hopes of watching the chaos unfold. Perhaps it’s time to teach our children that watching and recording another child being punched and kicked relentlessly by other children isn’t appropriate entertainment. Nor is it ever okay to inflict that kind of violence on someone, even if they’ve said “mean” things.

Students, who knew the fight was going to take place ahead of time, chose to race across campus in hopes of seeing a beat down instead of reporting it in hopes of preventing it. That’s not a school problem. That’s a heart problem in our youth, and that’s troubling. When hundreds of kids would rather watch another child be harmed than try to prevent it, the school isn’t the only system that failed whether we want to admit it or not. Sadly, it seems at least eight kids have now learned the hard way that this attack was a very bad idea, whether it was in response to bullying or not.

Novato Police arrested eight students in connection with the brawl, including the daughter of Melanie Sanchez, who was caught on video throwing punches. The eight students were booked into Marin County Juvenile Hall for conspiracy and felony assault charges, but Sanchez maintained that her daughter was a victim who snapped after the school failed to address her bullies. Claiming the attack was aimed at her daughter’s alleged tormentors, Sanchez said students are “being told they’re fat, they’re ugly, their hair is ugly, balls being thrown at them every single day at school.” Does that warrant a brutal three-on-one assault? Is it justified for the victim of bullying to become the bully or does that perpetuate a dangerous cycle of bullying and violence? You decide.