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

‘Nanaimo’ will be spelled out in five-foot-tall letters upon a slab of concrete overlooking Swy-a-Lana Lagoon at Maffeo Sutton Park. (Greg Sakaki/The News Bulletin)
Five-foot-tall letters spelling out ‘Nanaimo’ coming to Maffeo Sutton Park

$50,000-project expected to be installed by the end of April

A Nanaimo man will serve nine months in jail for the sexual assault of a young girl he admitted to having committed more than 40 years ago. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo man sentenced for sexually abusing girl more than 40 years ago

Man, now 71, gets nine-month sentence for abuse of friend’s daughter

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo teen arrested a day after allegedly assaulting and bullying victim

Teen taken into custody after wielding weapon and threatening driver at scene of car crash

‘We Are All Beautiful’ by Elise Cole and ‘The Modern Thrall’ by Enigye (Happy) Amarkah (from left) are two of the pieces featured in VIU’s Anti-Racism Arts Festival. (Images courtesy the artists)
Vancouver Island University holds first Anti-Racism Arts Festival

Three-day online event to feature visual arts, performance, film and poetry

Killer whales surface near Sebastion Beach in Lantzville on Sunday, April 11. (Photo courtesy Ella Smiley)
Orcas near the beach thrill whale watchers in Lantzville

Jagged-finned orca named Chainsaw and 17 others spent hours off Sebastion Beach this weekend

Killer whales surface near Sebastion Beach in Lantzville on Sunday, April 11. (Photo courtesy Ella Smiley)
Orcas near the beach thrill whale watchers in Lantzville

Jagged-finned orca named Chainsaw and 17 others spent hours off Sebastion Beach this weekend

In Ontario, COVID-19 vaccine clinics have been set up at local mosques. (Submitted photo: Rufaida Mohammed)
Getting the vaccine does not break your fast, says Muslim COVID-19 task force

Muslim community ‘strongly’ encouraging people to get their shot, whether or not during Ramadan

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Police: mental health crisis likely in car driven through Saanich Walmart wall

Man in his early 20s drove through a parkade wall, no serious injuries reported

A plane is seen through the window on the tarmac of Vancouver International Airport as the waiting room is empty. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
100+ international travellers who landed in B.C. refused to quarantine

The Public Health Agency of Canada says it issued $3,000 violation tickets to each

A health-care worker holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal, Thursday, March 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
PHAC receives first report of blood clot linked to AstraZeneca

The federal agency says the person is now recovering at home

The Campbell River Gun Club outdoor range is located on Argonaut Road west of Campbell River. CRGC/Facebook photo
Campbell River Gun Club range shut down after complaints of stray bullets

Neighbour says bullets hit caretaker’s RV and shattered a glass panel on his deck

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s Green Point Campground saw an unprecedented flurry of reservations last week. (Pacific Rim National Park Reserve photo)
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve campground sees ‘unprecedented’ interest

Reservations being accepted as Green Point Campground scheduled to open May 1

Restaurant owners Oura and Kymon Giakoumakis visit the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PODCAST: COVID-19 pandemic hits Island’s food service industry hard

Pair of Vancouver Island restaurant owners share thoughts and advice

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward
1 in 3 young Canadians have given up on owning a home: poll

Data released Monday says 36% of adults younger than 40 have given up on home ownership entirely

Most Read