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

Abbotsford school suspended 20 students for ‘fight club’

But the 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

Just Posted

John Horgan brought the NDP campaign to Langley on Wednesday, Oct. 21, just three days before the B.C. vote (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Horgan brings NDP campaign to Langley

Predicts gains, says people are looking at the party ‘differently’ after three years

Langley’s Ken Cormack (L) and Craig Brown won the B.C. Match Play Net Championship on Sunday, Oct. 18 in Richmond (Courtesy Ken Cormack)
Two ‘dads’ from Langley win B.C. Match Play Net Championship of golf

‘We were just doing it to have fun and have a laugh’

Aldergrove Elks Club put up a mural which they hope kids can help finish in the coming months. (Special to the Aldergrove Star)
PHOTOS: ‘Community Carries On’

Aldergrove Elks hoping kids can finish mural by painting other side of new plywood installation

A 2018 decision to fly a rainbow flag ended up costing the City of Langley $62,000 in legal fees (Langley Advance Times file)
Human rights win in flag fight cost Langley City $62,000

Report describes process as “lengthy and involved”

Mary Foote (right) took part in the Gutsy Walk in August 2020 at the age of 104. She was joined by son in-law Clarence and daughter Edith Olson. (family photo)
Langley woman turns 105 on Oct. 25

In August, Mary Foote took part in the Gutsy Walk to battle Crohn’s and Colitis

The Surrey Eagles are currently seeking billet families for its players in advance of the 2020-‘21 BC Hockey League season. (Garrett James photo)
BCHL team in ‘desperate’ need of billet families for upcoming hockey season

COVID-19 pandemic has made finding homes for players difficult: billet co-ordinator

Brody Peterson said he intends to dispute tickets issued by Grand Forks RCMP at his backyard “house warming” Saturday, Oct. 10. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Brody Peterson told The Gazette he intends to dispute tickets issued by Grand Forks RCMP at his backyard “house warming” Saturday, Oct. 10. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
‘This is a big outdoor space’: Grand Forks man behind backyard party to fight COVID tickets

Homeowner Brody Peterson said he’ll dispute tickets for refusing police instructions, alleged COVID violations

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
Kootenay Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

Mail-in ballot from Elections BC (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
At least 26% of eligible voters have already cast their ballot, Elections BC says

Voters can cast a ballot until 8 p.m PST on Election Day

RCMP were called to an assault in the 23700-block of 110 Ave in Maple Ridge Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (Curtis Kreklau/Special to The News)
PHOTOS: Assault in Maple Ridge sends three men to hospital

RCMP were called to a residence Tuesday night

Most Read