Flying tater tots precede graduation day at FGHS

As any school official will tell you, kids get a little squirrely in the final days of classes, but last week’s food fight at Forest Grove High School (described as “epic” by one witness) met with a stern response and jeopardized at least a couple seniors’ graduation plans.

There were numerous Twitter and Facebook references to the June 3 food fight, which featured flying tater tots and a ballistic burrito during the second lunch period.

FGHS Principal Karen Robinson said Tuesday the melee was “totally incited” by one student who announced his intentions ahead of time on social media and via word of mouth. She said the severity of the food fight was unprecedented in her four years leading the school.

“You occasionally get kids tossing food, and you’re always monitoring and correcting behavior,” said Robinson, “but this was more than that.”

FGHS has no specific policy covering food fights., but seniors were warned in the weeks leading up to commencement that “there are certain circumstances that can prevent them from graduating,” Robinson noted, including vandalism and disruption of the learning environment.

The fight “potentially put students in harm’s way as they tried to get out of the way or exit the cafeteria,” she said. “It was a pretty serious situation.”

Robinson would not comment on discipline assigned to specific students, but said administrators took into account “previous behavioral history, the severity of the incident and students’ level of involvement.” Punishments for the “eight to 10” students known to have been involved — not all of them seniors — ranged from community service to restitution and suspension, she said.

According to social media accounts, the two main students involved — whose names the News-Times is choosing not to publish — were told they might lose their privilege of walking across the stage to receive their diplomas during commencement ceremonies Saturday, June 7.

Students displayed mixed reactions to the incident on Facebook and over Twitter.

One person Tweeted: “Forest grove high — where a kid starts a food fight, and the one who got the food thrown at is the one who can’t walk at graduation.”

Between Wednesday and Friday, several more posts, Tweets and Re-Tweets showed up on social media:

n “Don’t through (sic) food in high school. Just eat like a normal kid.”

n “I feel so bad for the food fight.”

n “There’s like 10 kids who might not be able to walk, not just one, so let’s just send them all positive vibes and happy thoughts.”

“Sucks I can’t be at school on the last day but I’d rather walk across that stage with my class. I’m walking!” wrote one of the students involved.

Students who witnessed the food fight reported that school officials intervened and cleared the room of everyone not known to be directly involved. Afterward, pupils were moved to the commons area outside the cafeteria, where they milled about and a few soon began an animated game of “Rock, Paper, Scissors.”

Other students reportedly circled around the game-players, chanting “Fight! Fight! Fight!” — which drew more teachers to the area. Video of the food fight also showed up on social media by the end of last week.

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