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.

 

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

Washout hits Highway 97 north of Cache Creek

Highway now reopened to single-lane, alternating traffic

“Snowbirds” bring the fastest growing sport in North America to the Cariboo

Pickleball is similar to ping pong, tennis, and badminton

A Second Community Transition meeting held in 100 Mile House

District working on supports for those impacted during the transition

‘Bad choices make good stories’: Margaret Trudeau brings her show to Just for Laughs

Trudeau says over the decades she has been suicidal, manic, depressed

Young man seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

People were evacuated from Woodgrove Centre

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

B.C.-wide police efforts identify Vancouver Island robbery suspect

Warrant issued for arrest of North Vancouver man for TD Bank robbery

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Most Read