Northwoods Middle 8th graders will take part in promotion ceremony, despite fight

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Several 8th grade Northwoods Middle School students will be able to take part in their promotion ceremony despite being involved in a fight earlier this week.

According to Charleston County School District spokesman Andrew Pruitt, the students were originally not able to participate due to the consequences (suspensions) they received as part of their involvement in the fight Tuesday.

"But, after review, they will return to school prior to the date (June 2, 2017) of the promotion ceremony, thus allowing them the opportunity to participate," Pruitt said in a statement.

Pruitt added it's district practice to allow all students who qualify for promotion to high school to participate in 8th-grade promotion ceremonies.

This is not the first time a fight has happened at the school and is now drawing concern among several school board members.

"We're ranked pretty high at the school," said Rev. Chris Collins, a school board member. "Until now the school district didn't really recognize that many fights were occurring at the school."

A North Charleston police report states Tuesday's fight happened at the bus loop as school was getting out at 3:30 p.m.

One student told officers he had an ongoing issue with another student, and despite a teacher holding him back from fighting, he was able to break free and start the brawl.

The report goes on to say several other students ended up getting involved.

"Somebody will bump into another person, and then you've got three, four, five, six people fighting," Collins said. "At the end of the day those kids end up going back together as friends and playing with each other. So we want to put a stop to it and show them that fighting is wrong."

CCSD's student code of conduct states that fighting is a"Level 2 Disruptive Conduct" behavior.

This means the incident is punishable by up to five days out of school suspension.

Pruitt said several of the students in Tuesday's incident received this measure, however, did not give specifics about the amount of time.

Meanwhile, a video montage of fights occurring at Northwoods Middle School was posted to social media Wednesday night.

It had more than 2,400 views before it was removed Thursday afternoon.

The video, accompanied by the song "Knuck If You Buck", shows multiple fights on buses, school property and ends with the bus loop fight from Tuesday.

"It's really disturbing the school climate, the school atmosphere," Collins said. "A teacher can't teach like that if the children are fighting and acting up, acting silly. It's not fun for us. We take it very seriously."

Data from the State Department of Education shows Northwoods Middle School had the highest number of fighting incidents across Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown and Williamsburg school districts in the 2015-2016 school year.

Live 5 News investigated the number of fights at schools across the Lowcountry.

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