Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 20, 2014

High school students fight at Wapello fairgrounds

By DIANE VANCE | Jun 06, 2013

ELDON — Six students, ages 15-17, face charges of disorderly conduct to simple assault from a fight involving Cardinal and Davis County high school students May 22 at the Wapello County Fairgrounds.

Davis County Deputy Sheriff Josh O’Dell said he took the call from Davis County Community School District Superintendent Dan Maeder May 23 that a video of the fight was posted on YouTube.

“Before we could notify YouTube, the video was already taken down,” said O’Dell.

He estimated six to 10 students from each school might have been present.

O’Dell said Wapello County Fairgrounds was recognizable and his department notified Wapello County Sheriff’s Office.

Maeder watched the video along with Davis County Sheriff Dave Davis and Davis County High School Principal Jeff Graves.

“We are in the process of reviewing our good conduct policy to see if there are any violations,” said Maeder. “This happened after school hours, off school property without any connection to school activities. The sheriff is handling it.

“The important message is acts of violence are not the answer,” said Maeder. “We work hard to prevent violence and take this seriously. We work to keep our school safe and take care not to let violence happen at school.”

Maeder and Cardinal Community School District Superintendent Joel Pedersen, who were in contact May 23 about the video and fight, as well as with the two sheriffs’ offices, each speculated the fight might have started on social media.

“I have no knowledge what it was about,” said Pedersen. “I’m speculating that something was blown up [out of proportion] on social media. I can only wonder who was involved and at what level.”

Pedersen thought a total of 15 or so students were involved in the fight.

“It was more than six, but probably a total in the teens,” he said.

Neither superintendent would say if they knew how many of the six students facing charges were from which school.

“We want to make sure whatever was involved doesn’t continue,” said Pedersen. “We’ll work closely with the sheriff and Davis County. I don’t foresee any of this coming into the school.”

Students in each district are already finished with classes for the school year.

“We border one another’s districts and have families and friends across the boundaries,” said Maeder. “This is not a Cardinal versus Davis County thing. There’s not any type of major rivalry between us. Each of our districts has fine students.

“This was really a surprise because it’s not what I would expect. I’m speculating social media or cyber-bulling could have something to do with it.”

Pedersen said his district also is reviewing its good conduct policy, and is waiting for the charges to be filed.

Calls to Wapello County Sheriff’s Office today have not been returned.

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