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Fight in Catskill High cafeteria captured on video draws attention to district protocols

Dec 16, 2021 5:30 am

Ted Remsnyder is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media a fight between two Catskill High School students captured by a cell phone camera has caused a district parent to call for a major overhaul of school district policies. The altercation took place on the afternoon of Dec. 8 in the high school cafeteria. The video shows an unidentified student putting his arm around 10th-grader Shawn Walters, shoving him across the cafeteria, launching him across a table and then falling to the floor. The unidentified student then stood over Walters and repeatedly punched him and stomped on his face before other students intervened to break up the fight. Troy Walters, the boy’s father, said he was mortified when he saw the video. He said school officials did not contact him. Catskill School District Superintendent Ronel Cook said in an email to the paper that "...any code of conduct infraction that takes place in the district is investigated by the building principal. At the conclusion of the investigation, the building principal administers a consequence for the infraction." Troy Walters said he learned what happened from his daughter who saw the video on social media. “I contacted the school and got hold of the principal and, as you can imagine, as a dad I was pretty upset. ...I wanted to know what police agency was called and [learned that] they had never called a police agency,” he said. In a statement about the incident posted to the Catskill school district website on December 15, Cook explained that in "...instances that involve violence, we contact law enforcement." Catskill Village Police did not have a record of an arrest made in connection with the fight. After the fight, Shawn Walters was taken to the nurses' office, while the other student was picked up by his mother and taken home shortly thereafter. The district has sworn out a trespass warrant against Shawn's father, barring him from school property. “I take ownership for that, because yes, I did lose my mind when I saw how battered and beaten my son was,” he said. Walters said he has been receiving messages from dozens of parents in Catskill who say the school district has brushed aside bullying and assault cases in the past. “They don’t follow their protocols,” he said. “They won’t even tell me how many violent assaults they’ve had on campus.” Troy Walters is unsure at this point if he will allow his son to return to Catskill High. The full extent of Shawn's injuries is still not known. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.