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April 11, 2006

String of violent activity occurs on school grounds

by Varun Gulati, Page Editor
A recent string of violent activity, including two fights between girls, heated behavior between groups of boys and a drawn weapon, has caused a stir within the Blair administration, which believes that none of the incidents are gang related.

In one incident, two students were playing around in a classroom when one drew a pocketknife. Amid the horseplay, the other student received a "small, superficial laceration," according to Assistant Principal Linda Wanner, who gave the student with the pocketknife a 10-day suspension with a recommendation for expulsion. The student with the laceration was not seriously injured.

On March 22, two groups of boys the "88s" and the "Maple Avenue crew" were "bucking like broncos and acting tough," Wanner wrote in an e-mail, later adding that the hostility was a spillover from the community and that the groups were not official gangs. "I don't know if they're all that organized," she said.

Security guard Ed Reddick corroborated Wanner's statement. "They live in a community, and just go by their community name," he said.

Ninth-grade administrator James Short added that perceiving the groups as gangs may be incorrect. "I'm treating it as a group of kids who have issues with each other," he said.

Principal Phillip Gainous and Short compiled a list of the students in each group and suspended them for a few days. Though no actual fight occurred, school administrators cited several different reasons for suspending the students. Wanner said that there was "a lot of electricity in the air" and the students were "almost having a fight." Short stated that the groups were "inciting a disturbance" and Reddick mentioned that "it's policy within the [plan]book."

The students of the two groups and their parents met with administrators the following week, on March 27. "All of the people agreed that they would cut it out," said Wanner.

Also on March 22, two underclassmen girls, one from Blair and one from another high school, engaged in a fight after night school. The next day, friends of both girls continued the fight after lunch and were suspended for 10 days. The girls who fought during night school were also suspended, and the girl from the other high school was removed from night school permanently.

On March 20, seven senior girls from two Hispanic cliques fought in front of the media center. The fight had been a spillover from a series of personal attacks on one girl in Myspace, a social networking web site popular with teenagers. "We first of all saw it in the hallways," said Wanner. "When we talked to the students, we found out what happened that weekend." Administration suspended the girls for five days and then met with their parents on March 27. "They all agreed that they would 'bury the hatchet,' so to say," said Wanner.



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  • pratik on April 11, 2006 at 11:15 PM
    wanner said "bucking like broncos and acting tough." wow...just wow...
  • Get real on April 12, 2006 at 12:58 AM
    Sure sounds like a gang to me. Wouldn't that fit the definition of "a group of kids who have issues with each other" that "go by their community name"? I mean, come on Blair admin. Admit you have a problem, and deal with it.
  • What on April 12, 2006 at 9:51 PM
    Let's not try to cover up the true.....where many violents had occurred at Blair...and some due to gang activities.....Are sure there is no gang group name Maple Avenue Crew? or you are hiding the true. The some kids are rude and show no respect to teachers,other and themselves....and AD gaves weak punishment.And that allows them to act up again. Kids must learn to be PROACTIVE THAN REACTIVE. Violates do not solve your problem.
  • Anarchist on April 13, 2006 at 2:07 AM
    Reasons for suspension:
    "a lot of electricity in the air"
    "almost having a fight"

    Well, better suspend entire physics classes - each time a Van de Graaf is turned on there's sure to be "a lot of electricity in the air". And suspending kids for ALMOST violating the rules - what's next?
    "Sorry, Johnny, that'll be a detention."
    "But I made it to class on time!"
    "Yeah, but you were ALMOST late. Think of it as a warning."
  • .. on April 13, 2006 at 12:28 PM
    nice article varun
  • Libertarian (View Email) on April 13, 2006 at 1:03 PM
    I wholeheartedly agree with anarchist. Suspending kids because there was a lot of electricity in the air and they were almost going to fight? Sorry, that doesn't cut it.

    "inciting a disturbance" is grounds for suspension? Way to go Blair facis... I mean admin. We don't suspend people for ALMOST breaking the rules. There's a difference between almost and actually doing it.

    By the way, I expect half the kids to be suspended the day I get back to school, many of them use language that could incite a disturbance, how about a joke that offends someone? No more offending people, no more free speech. If you talk like you just MIGHT commit a crime, out you go. You're suspended. Great job. First racism and now almost fighting is grounds for suspension?
  • = ( on April 13, 2006 at 5:58 PM
    I am repulsed by this ridiculous administrative detention policy. We should not suspend students unless they have committed a crime! Besides, nobody can really say what it means to "almost have a fight".
  • huh on April 13, 2006 at 11:25 PM
    it wasnt that serious...
  • on April 14, 2006 at 9:51 AM
    next you'll be suspending kids for not breaking the rules
  • Clyde on April 14, 2006 at 11:13 AM
    Sounds like the administration is sticking their colective heads in the sand.
  • Daniel on April 14, 2006 at 2:01 PM
    No gangs? I thought MAC "Maple Avenue Crew" was a gang. In fact, at Takoma Park Middle School a few years ago a kid got suspended for wearing wristbands that said MAC. Now a self described gang is just a community group of friends?

    Mr. Short, how do you think gangs form? People dont post ads in the paper trying to find potential gang members. Gangs start in communities. Of course, not every group of friends in a community is going to be a gang. But what else are you going to call them when they start having rivalries that lead to violence?

    Last week, Silver Chips printed an article that highlighted the administration's habit of wrongfully accusing students of gang activity. Today, Silver Chips publishes an article describing what is CLEARLY gang activity, and the administration completely reverses its attitude regaurding gangs. At least everyone involved still got suspended, they'll never flip flop on that.
  • lame on April 14, 2006 at 10:55 PM
    the administration's reaction is kind of shocking, it's like their turning a blind eye on purpose!
  • blazer on April 15, 2006 at 2:11 AM
    I agree. I wasn't there, I don't know the situation, but if really all that happend was they were "almost having a fight", they doesn't work. If people were really in danger, okay I cacn understand that. But lots of kinds who haven't gotten as much as a lunch detention have "almost" been in fights. If you control yourself enough to keep "almost fighting" from becoming actual fighting, isn't that a good thing? How do they know the kids would have done anything. I'm not saying we should wait around for students to start beating each other up before action is taken, but almost fighting isn't fighting. There's no perfect solution, I accept that, but I'm not sure if suspension was the best possible solution here.
  • disappointed on April 15, 2006 at 3:36 PM
    blair admin, you need to shape up. as a student, i'm deeply disappointed in both your actions and policies. maybe this is why blair is ranked near the bottom of moco school standings
  • badLUCK13 (View Email) on April 16, 2006 at 1:49 AM
    the Hispanic fight of feamles is only because student do not address their issues the right way. If you want to fight do it, but 1-on-1 basis not no "jumping" mess that only makes situations wors eby bringing in more and more people each time!
  • David on April 16, 2006 at 9:39 AM
    we need more details than "almost a fight"
  • 07 on April 16, 2006 at 1:57 PM
    "'the "88s" and the "Maple Avenue crew" were "bucking like broncos and acting tough,'"
    She definately has a way with words...

    The administration really needs to shape up because it's evident they are doing little to resolve this problem. And now people are getting suspended for almost having a fight? Come on.
  • ? on April 17, 2006 at 12:39 AM
    why would you suspend the two groups that didnt like eachother? so they could all be out on the streets at the same time?
  • 06 on April 18, 2006 at 10:21 AM
    Now a days there is now one on one fights.
  • 04 (View Email) on April 18, 2006 at 11:16 AM
    the administration will not admit that there are gangs. 88 aka crush mob and MAC have been around for a long time. they also dont really know whats going in in the community. they are always fighting at gogo's also. one even got shot. if these are not gangs then these are community turf type battles. which is a GANG. adminstration real sucked on this one
  • 06 on April 18, 2006 at 2:00 PM
    I wish someone in our administration would deal with this. I dont think black-on-black violence and other fights involving people of color will solve themselves if the administration doesnt deal with the factor of race.
  • =X on April 18, 2006 at 5:21 PM
    some more details on "inciting a disturbance"? i suppose if they're like...??? =X no idea...i agree w/ david down....somewhere. and...yea.
  • ?? on April 18, 2006 at 10:18 PM
    If kids "almost violated" the rules but were stopped by a teacher than they should recieve punishment because they could violate a rule if given a chance and ignoring the issue wont help anyone.
  • Spartan Betty (View Email) on April 19, 2006 at 7:36 AM
    HOW STUPID COULD YOU BE NOT GANGS THAT IS TOTAL BS... and what is an after night school anyway?... dont you think 10 days suspension is a bit much...STUPID FOOLS!!!
  • Billy the redneck on April 19, 2006 at 7:40 AM
    I do believe that in all of my wisdom that these incidents were caused by hate because pf the difference of races in these gangs. I also believe that racism is a thing of the present and that we should all be aware of the people and their color around us. I think that if these are part of gangs they are perfectly entitled to be ripping eachothers heads off. also what is wrong with gangs. i mean they are causes of violence but that is not the point. I do believe that in all of my increbly smart intellectual abilities that people in gangs should be shot. thank you for my time i do believe that u were entitled to my time. your welcome good bye for now
  • Bill on April 19, 2006 at 7:54 AM
    I do believe that in all of my wisdom gangs are nothing bad. Gangs promote life in general. Therefore these fights are. Not a bad thing and in my mind and country we would encourage these children to carry these actions of extreme bravery. Thank you for your time
  • dada on April 19, 2006 at 10:27 AM
    why does blair try to get people that dont belong in to gang out of skool
  • clear on April 19, 2006 at 3:01 PM
    OK, people...88 does some stuff, like that serious shooting incident with MS and that can be considered gang violence, but MAC......what are you kidding me? Short is right. They are not a real gang. MS is real, MAC is some kids that try and rep their Takoma Park neighborhood, and some members get into fights, usually not cuz its "gang related". Maple used to be bad back in the day, and some kids try to get back that rep. but they are just some kids gettin into figts.
  • C/O 04 on April 20, 2006 at 4:16 AM
    People are more immature than ever, point blank period...they need to be up in somebody's church instead of promoting and furthering stereotypes of ignorance, especially among people of color. When will people grow up and want something better for themselves. Its sad to see what's happened to Blair since I graduated in 2004.
  • get it right on April 20, 2006 at 3:24 PM
    This is really disturbing, It makes me want to cry. Not the fact that school administration suspended some kids, but the fact that all of you are saying things that you know nothing about. MAC a gang? No, just a group of dumb little kids that have nothing else to do but dumb things. Trying to label MAC as a gang when it is not at all, can really get a lot of people into trouble for just walking down the street. No one would even consider there to be a gang, if a group of white kids got into a fight with another group of white kids. This world is so twisted! Just like most of your comments are twisted (except for clear who actually got it right). Most of you know nothing about anything and your comments may get innocent people into trouble.
  • Class of 04 on April 21, 2006 at 11:50 AM
    Come on now, I think were getting a little beside ourselfs. 88 & Maple? Most of these kid can't fight their way out of a paper bag. They just put on shows at lunchtime to stir up big crowds. Go to a D.C or P.G county school if you want to see real gang problems in schools! Lets stop paying these little kids all this attention and get back to school...give the admin. a break, they know its not that serious and it could be a lot worse! I not saying that its ok to fight in school but lets not make a big deal about a couple of fights in blair. I've been around and Maple and 88, I would love to start a family in either one of these communities thats how safe it is. Lets all just take a deep breath and chill out and enjoy life...Prasie God!
  • 07 on April 21, 2006 at 9:21 PM
    to C/O 04:

    Are you kidding me? There has always been fights, since before 04 graduated! I remember more fights when I was a freshman than now, and 04 was here then!
  • Clear on April 21, 2006 at 9:25 PM
    some of the friends that get into fights with MAC against other people dont even live on Maple or even rep them. MAC is not a gang. just some people who live on maple. THEY DONT EVEN FIGHT THAT MUCH FOR GOODNESS SAKES! this is being siced!
  • C/O 04 (View Email) on April 23, 2006 at 2:11 AM
    07, I know there have always been fights...but its just my opinion that things have gotten worse since I graduated, which is within my frame of reference. I just think its time for people to grow up, MAC? 88? What is that going to mean when you're 40? I remember growing up in T.P. when I was younger, thinking it was cool to rep MAC...but that was just a phase, it meant nothing. I will still always love Takoma Park and Maple Avenue, I just think its time for a change in the way people view themselves, their potential, and their ability to succeed. Blessings of life, later days.
  • pplovereacting (View Email) on April 25, 2006 at 8:23 PM
    Pathetic. Utterly pathetic. These so called "Maple Avenue Crew" and "88" gangs are outrageously weak. It's just a bunch of scrubs who happen to live on Maple Avenue and happen to get into fights with 88 year old grandmas who can't defend themselves. Ha. What a joke. I wasted 5 min reading this article and typing a reply. Now... I WANT FIVE MINUTES OF MY LIFE BACK!!!
  • Jimmyrecon (View Email) on November 30, 2006 at 2:46 PM
    I went to Blair back in the 1980's. back then we had named goups too (nothing as cool as MAC of 88 though...). We committed acts that would be considered 'status offenses', meaning that if we had been adults, we wouldn't have been doing anything wrong (truancy, alcohol, etc...), pretty tame. We did not commit felonies (1st degree assault, second degree assault, drug violations, etc...). When you have a group of people who hang out, assign themselves a name (MAC or 88 sounds like a name), and they come together to commit crimes, you have a gang.

    It may seem like they're not too much of a threat, so why bother? If you leave them alone, you are condonig their behavior. If youcondone their behavior they will escalate. Other groups will see that the behavior is condoned and they will emulate it and surpass it,.... and then you will have PG Co, or Baltimore school problems.

    Nobody wants to be harrassed on their way to, home from, or in school. It should be a 'safe' place. When you let the garbage run rampant nobody can learn.

    my two cents
  • gigity (View Email) on March 31, 2014 at 10:07 PM
    really? what is an 88 crush mob? maple I can see. but 88? kids are repping numbers now
    • Are you kidding? on September 10, 2016 at 11:35 PM
      Yes "gigity", actually it's very common for gangs to rep numbers. In that gang 8800 Carroll Ave is being repped. If you went to Blair you would understand.
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