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Youths face significant consequences for fighting at school

GRANDVIEW - It used to be that when two kids got in a fight at school, an adult would say "Break it up," and that would be the end of it. Or, said Grandview Assistant Police Chief Mark Ware, "The teacher would give you a hack and be done with it."

That's not the case now. Kids fighting at school in Grandview will most likely face gross misdemeanor charges.

Student Resource Officer Rob Colley said, "If it's on school grounds, I usually charge them with disorderly conduct or assault, depending on the aggressor."

That means the child is placed in handcuffs and put in a holding cell at the Grandview Police Department.

"If it happens during classtime, or in between classes, I usually also charge them with interfering with school function with force or violence," Colley added.

After the child is arrested, Colley forwards the charges to the Yakima County juvenile prosecutor. It's up to the judge whether or not the child serves any time.

Ware said that once a child is charged, it's permanent record within the Grandview Police Department. And if the offender ends up in Superior Court up to the age of 23, the judge can view the person's juvenile record and take that into consideration during sentencing.

Colley said many youngsters don't understand the consequences of fighting at school. "I think a majority of them think it's just a fight."

The fights aren't necessarily gang-related, he added. In fact, a majority of them are usually about relationships, boyfriends or girlfriends, he said. For most, he added, spending time in the holding cell is enough to curb the behavior.

During the month of March, Colley responded to eight fights in the district. So far this year, there have been six disorderly conduct charges and 16 assault charges stemming from conduct at school.

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