Ballston Spa

Student fights at Ballston Spa lead to resource officer as added lunch monitor

Moving Saratoga Forward FacebookThis screenshot taken from Moving Saratoga Forward’s Facebook page shows a school resource officer from the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department monitoring lunch from an elevated chair.

Moving Saratoga Forward Facebook

This screenshot taken from Moving Saratoga Forward’s Facebook page shows a school resource officer from the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department monitoring lunch from an elevated chair.

BALLSTON SPA — Two student altercations at Ballston Spa High School on Tuesday resulted in the placement of a school resource officer from the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department monitoring lunch from an elevated chair.

Superintendent Ken Slentz said the second fight occurred just a short time after the first.

The first incident involved two students arguing over a social media issue, according to the superintendent, and was quickly de-escalated.

The second involved two other students and a staff member. One student sustained an injury not considered significant, Slentz said.

Asked if the students fought the staffer, he said, “One engaged with him, yes.”

Principal Gianleo Duca addressed the second altercation in an email sent to parents:

During one of our lunch periods [Tuesday] there was a physical altercation involving two of our students and a staff member. We are continuing to review statements and video footage of the incident and will take any disciplinary action necessary once our review is completed. As we know, there are students who may be sensitive to seeing incidents like this so we ask that you please connect with your child’s counselor if they need support or assistance.”

Slentz downplayed the officer’s presence in the lunchroom, suggesting the elevated chair has been used other times, saying it is, “something that he occasionally uses at dances to get a vantage point of everything that’s going on there.”

Slentz said claims of a dramatic spike in violence at the school had “no fact basis.”

“Since the beginning of the year, we’ve had nine reported fights,” he said, “and we’ve had four of those in the last two weeks.”

In an apparent reference to the COVID-19 pandemic and a statewide face mask mandate that has been a flashpoint in the district and others, the superintendent said: “Was there an increase in tension with the number of things that are going on? I think one could say that. But in terms of the actual violence, that is a grand overstatement.”

Asked how the nine altercations so far this year compares to the number at this time in other years — last year notwithstanding, when students spent vast amounts of time engaged in remote learning — Slentz said, “As you get close to, particularly the midwinter break, it is not atypical to have additional student behavior issues happening.”

He said administrators will continue to stay on top of the situation.

“Quite frankly, we have monitors. We have staff assigned to the hallways; we have administrators present. So yes, we’re always watching for this,” he said. “It just so happened that, as I suggested you, we had two coinciding events on one day.”

Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo also spoke of the sheriff deputy’s presence.

“They serve a purpose — safety of the kids in school, administration and the teachers,” Zurlo said. “We saw what took place there. He was overseeing the cafeteria and I trust his judgment, and that was his judgment. We take it as it is and that’s that.”

Contact reporter Brian Lee at [email protected] or 518-419-9766.

Categories: Saratoga County

0 Comments

No Comment.