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Superintendent Says Patch Sensationalized Fight, 'Gang' Tension

Superintendent of Schools Melinda Thies says extra police presence at Mt. Hope High School was because of media.

Bristol Warren Regional School District Superintendent of Schools Melinda Thies blames Bristol Warren Patch for the heightened security and police presence at today.

Thies said Patch “sensationalized the issue” when it reported on an after-school fight that sent one victim to the hospital and sparked a wave of students feuding and threatening each other on Facebook Thursday night.

When students arrived at school Friday morning, they were greeted by numerous police cruisers, officers on the grounds and in the school, and school faculty actively keeping an eye on things.

The injured student is a member of a high school clique known as the “Juggalos,” and the attack launched debate about whether the Juggalos are victims of bullying, whether they’re a “gang,” and whether there would be retribution. Members of the Juggalos say they’re not a gang, just a group of friends. They refer to themselves as a “family.”

Thies said she wants to promote that it’s a safe environment at the school, that the problems are being taken care, and that the school department and Bristol Police Department are working together.

She said she walked the corridors at the high school this morning, and she’ll be returning to do the same this afternoon.

“The school is orderly, administrators are walking around, classes are in place. It’s a normal day, but there is heightened police activity,” Thies said.

Asked if the school administration monitors student Facebook activity and takes Facebook threats seriously, Thies hesitated, then said, “yes, but we forward that information on to the police.”

Thies also said the Bristol Warren Patch report “did an injustice to the school … and made it out to be more than it is. This stuff happens everywhere.”

She said the extra police presence was because of “the media.” Before the start of school this morning, the only media coverage was on Bristol Warren Patch.

GuardingBristol November 05, 2011 at 05:21 PM
Mrs Thies should resign. An investigation should be opened immediately into the procedure that was taken by staff, including and not limted to the Principal, Dean, and everyone who had knowledge of the bullying and failed to address it. If it is true that these students asked for help and were not taken seriously, well then I hope those teachers and faculty are questioned on the actions that they took to prevent the violence that occurred, and the obvious hatred that exists. To downplay this story, and to blame a media outlet for shining a light on a major issue should be grounds for termination. I hope patch follows up on this story and makes sure questions are answered. Was it a hate crime?
aproudmom November 05, 2011 at 08:14 PM
The majority of parents of children at Mt. Hope believe exactly that GuardingBristol...thank you for posting that!!
joanne November 06, 2011 at 02:28 PM
To the patch, media, and children that got home to tell their parents of what happened or did not know what happened always know to go to a safe adult for protection police parent someone very trusted if threatened or bullied and do not go by rumors. If you hear rumors share with trusted person. To Mrs Thies to say something so foolish the patch caused all of the tension there. Give this beautiful town a break. Keep it out of media Why? This is how things escalate. You have a child that was assaulted and brought to the hospital. Others are saying so many other stories. Police in this town intelligent they should be there until they get to the bottom of it. Anxiety of children I bet especially when our supertintendent wants it hush hush!! Blame media. Taxpayers pay for children to learn!! Half of them look a mess pants down underwear showing, smoking across the street minors, etc They are teenagers they are not the bosses the school is the law is not them. To all for religious or customs their entire whole different thing. But if the copy catters want to attend school with all on their face, and they can go to the clown schools.Girls use to be sent to ladies room to wipe their faces down if they their makeup was piled on like a clown and if refused parents called if they did nothing juneville officer called. I think better get back to that. People cannot afford to live never mind paying so many taxes for teenagers not following dress codes. the boy attacked i hope he is ok.
a concerned parent November 27, 2011 at 12:21 AM
this was an act of bullying. I won't argue that. The student who was punched had gone around bullying many students that day, he eventually found a student that wasn't afraid of him and who wasn't going to stand the bullying. Fact is the sudent who punched him had no interaction with him before this incident.
Gina November 27, 2011 at 02:01 AM
Interesting that out of all the comments here you chose mine to respond to over three weeks later...."a concerned parent".....is that your first name...or last ?

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