Twenty students were suspended at Robert Bateman Secondary School in October over a “fight club,” according to emails.                                Photo courtesy Abbotsford School District

Twenty students were suspended at Robert Bateman Secondary School in October over a “fight club,” according to emails. Photo courtesy Abbotsford School District

Abby Schools

B.C. school suspended 20 students for ‘fight club’

But Abbotsford School District denies existence of a fight club at Robert Bateman Secondary

Robert Bateman Secondary School suspended 20 students in October over what two administrators described in emails as a “fight club with boxing gloves.”

The emails were obtained last week by the Abbotsford News through a freedom of information request, but the existence of such a fight club at the school is disputed by the district.

In an email to vice-principal Jeff Ritchie dated Oct. 5, the sender, whose identity is redacted, states that another individual “just came to me to let us know that [redacted] admitted to [redacted] today that [redacted] was part of the fight club.”

Most of the emails are disciplinary summaries or notifications sent out from the school’s principal and vice-principals five days after that email, on Oct. 10.

RELATED: Victoria childcare centre investigated for ‘Fight Club’

Fifteen emails of this nature were sent out by Robert Bateman Secondary School vice-principals Jeff Ritchie and Janelle Dick, each stating that a student had been suspended for a ‘fight club.’
Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

Fifteen emails of this nature were sent out by Robert Bateman Secondary School vice-principals Jeff Ritchie and Janelle Dick, each stating that a student had been suspended for a ‘fight club.’

Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

Ritchie and vice-principal Janelle Dick sent out a set of 15 similar emails, each stating that a student was suspended from school for five days for “fighting (fight club with boxing gloves),” though the remainder of the details are redacted.

Another 18 nearly identical emails were sent out by the vice-principals, each stating that an individual had been given a suspension and asking for homework to be left at the office for a parent or guardian to pick up.

Of those emails, 17 indicate an out-of-school suspension and one indicates an in-school suspension.

Among the emails included in the request, one states that a pair of students were given a warning on Oct. 5 for “inappropriate comments” made in class. The connection to the “fight club” isn’t clear.

RELATED: Pros and cons of heightened school security

But Abbotsford School District spokesperson Kayla Stuckart said in an Oct. 30 email that there “is no fight club” at the school, and that the principal had “dealt with a matter” earlier that month. She reiterated the statement last week, when The News questioned her about the emails.

“I refer you back to my email dated October 30th, 2018 where I confirm there is no fight club at Robert Bateman,” Stuckart said in an email.

“The students used the ‘Fight Club’ term, and in turn, the phrase was inadvertently used by staff when referring to/dealing with this matter.”

Stuckart did, however, confirm that 20 students were suspended. So if not a fight club, to what did the suspensions pertain?

“A disciplinary matter dealt with by the school principal,” was Stuckart’s only response to that question.

A board of review meeting was held regarding the situation, but details are redacted, other than an indication that a mother, father or other guardian attended the meeting. And no details of a specific incident are found in the redacted documents.

According to the district’s student code of conduct, “Serious breaches of conduct that threaten the safety and welfare of others will be referred directly to a District Board of Review. (Level Three suspension).”

In late October, district parent advisory council chair Sherri Anderson told The News that the parent group had not heard any concerns regarding a fight club at the school, “nor have we heard any rumours of this.”

Report an error or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Abbotsford News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Fifteen emails of this nature were sent out by Robert Bateman Secondary School vice-principals Jeff Ritchie and Janelle Dick, each stating that a student had been suspended for a ‘fight club.’                                Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

Fifteen emails of this nature were sent out by Robert Bateman Secondary School vice-principals Jeff Ritchie and Janelle Dick, each stating that a student had been suspended for a ‘fight club.’ Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

Just Posted

Emma Garriott is releasing her second album titled ‘Sad White Girl Angst.’ (Emma Garriott / Facebook photo)
North Island musician releases second album titled ‘Sad White Girl Angst’

“When you hear it, I want you to feel like your best friend in the whole world is sitting beside you’

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement forecasting windy weather Sunday and Monday. (News Bulletin file photo)
More windy weather on the way for Vancouver Island

Environment Canada issues special weather statement for Victoria, east coast of Island, north Island

Jay Vaughn, Brian Pohto and Janet Pohto opened up the Island Sun’s tuna freezers for anyone worried about food thawing over the four-day power outage on Malcolm Island. (Christopher Hurst photo)
Community shines bright during power outage

Hardest hit areas on the North Island stepped up to keep neighbours warm and fed

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash in Comox Valley waters Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

Most Read