Suspensions reported after Nashua North fight

NASHUA – Heath Gaffney, father of two sons who attend Nashua High School North, alleges that fighting among students is getting out of control — and is creating consequences for more than just the combatants.

School officials, namely district Superintendent Jahmal Mosley and North Principal Nate Burns, remained quiet Thursday amid reports that up to 30 students received suspensions for leaving the cafeteria to witness a Monday fight.

“He basically got suspended for walking out of the cafeteria and apparently, they’re trying to suspend all 30 kids that walked out at that time,” Gaffney said, adding that one of his sons is among the 30 suspended. “It was roughly 30 kids that walked out at that time to see what was going on.”

Neither Mosley, nor Burns, returned Thursday messages from The Telegraph seeking comment on the situation.

Gaffney said his sons told him about 30 students were punished with one-day suspensions for watching the Monday fight. In doing so, school officials declared the students “created an unsafe environment.”

“There’s no rational explanation why these kids created an unsafe environment,” Gaffney said. “They wanted to see what was going on.”

Gaffney said the fight occurred on Monday; his sophomore was suspended at the end of the day Tuesday; stayed home Wednesday to serve out that suspension; and returned to school Thursday. However, Gaffney said his son has never even had detention and takes honors classes.

“It’s so far over the top,” Gaffney said.

He said while talking with his sons, he learned that fighting happens at the school up to three times in a week now.

During this particular altercation, Gaffney said he believes several male high school students had a disagreement that began to escalate into a physical confrontation.

“The administration were trying to de-escalate the situation and they didn’t do that,” Gaffney said.

What happened next outside of the cafeteria remains unclear, but the 30 or so students allegedly left the cafeteria to investigate the commotion.

“The consequences of that wrongdoing are way too extreme and could affect his college education for leaving the cafeteria,” Gaffney said. “The thing about the suspension is, it’s on his personal record. When you apply for college, you have to tell them if you were suspended or not.”

Gaffney’s goal is to reach out to other parents whose children were suspended in this situation and form an alliance. He wants to see the school evaluate matters on a case-by-case basis, rather than issuing broad punishments for relatively minor infractions.

“To me, what they’re teaching our kids is to turn a blind eye because you could be punished if you stick around,” Gaffney said.

On Thursday evening, Gaffney said in an email that he is currently waiting to hear back from other parents he has contacted. He received a letter stating his son was suspended for “unsafe behavior.”

“I assume this is when he and 30 or so others left the cafe into the hallway…,” Gaffney stated via email.

He is now waiting to hear exactly what class, either I, II, III, and what rule they are using for this discipline.

Under expectations listed in the Student Behavior Standards that can be found online, it states, “The entire community has a vested interest in the discipline program within our schools. Successful implementation of a thoughtfully constructed discipline policy is a benefit to the entire community both for the present and for the future.”

Those standards are available at, www.nashua.edu/Nashua/Media/PDF-files/BOE/Policies%20and%20Procedures/J.%20Students/JIC-Student-Behavior-Standards.pdf.

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