Three Madison high schools erupt in chaos Monday noon

“West High and the District are engaging in experimental,
ill-advised, and dangerous tactics to essentially bend over backwards
to not “offend” the OFFENDERS.” — A Parent

Madison high schools are erupting in chaos. Three high schools in one day, Monday, February 19, over the noon hour. Bad enough for the cop on duty to call for reinforcements. Police responded to melees at Madison West, Madison Memorial, and Madison East high schools.

From what we can determine, the misbehaving students were not peacefully protesting for gun control, social justice, or better cafeteria food. They were just fighting.

Let’s start with Chief Koval’s bare bones police blotter:

MIDTOWN: Disturbance – 12:12 p.m.  MPD Educational Resource Officer (ERO) requested back-up to assist with a large disturbance in the cafeteria of Madison Memorial High School.  Multiple officers responded to de-escalate the situation.  Investigation continuing. 

MIDTOWN: Disturbance – 12:27 p.m.  MPD Educational Resource Officer’s (ERO) radio alarm was activated during a large disturbance at West High School.  Additional officers responded to assist with the situation.  Investigation continuing. 

NORTH: Disturbance – 12:38 p.m.  MPD Educational Resource Officer (ERO) requested multiple officers respond to East High School regarding a disturbance and an attempt to apprehend a couple of subjects.  A juvenile (15 year old AAF) arrived at school (she was suspended) with two other subjects (20 year old AAF and 15 year old AAF) and started a disturbance.  The 20 year old AAF was arrested and conveyed to the jail for trespassing and disorderly conduct.  Investigation continuing with respect to the juveniles. 

We have a little bit more on the situation at West H.S.. First, the notice to parents from the principal, Karen Boran:

Dear West Families,

I am writing to let you know about a disruption during our school day today. Shortly before 12:30 pm today, a small group of students engaged in a loud verbal altercation. Other students were present to see the incident that occurred in front of our library. Our staff quickly responded, but we also requested assistance from the police to bring the situation under control quickly and help to investigate the root cause of the conflict.

After we brought the situation under control, we were able to continue our normal school day. I want you to know that our staff responded quickly and the vast majority of our students acted appropriately and followed safety precautions.

Now this response from one parent, whose name I am redacting (edited for brevity):

Physical assaults and torn-off hair

Dear Principal Boran,

Thank you for the incident report about the “loud verbal altercation” that necessitated law enforcement engagement to put a stop to, and that we can all be thankful did not cross over into the “beyond verbal” realm of assaults, violence and melee. Surely in this aftermath of the Florida school incident we can all be thankful that it was not worse that it was …although the problem is that we really don’t know what exactly “it” WAS. And in the aftermath of that incident the time is right to take back our school and declare it a truly safe space once again.

… I would like to ask you as the Principal, what exactly happened?

My son said this was a very loud and aggressive happening involving a subset of the student population that he cannot help but notice and comment has also coincidentally been involved in all other altercations (including not just “verbal altercations” but also actual physical assaults and various melees including ones with torn-off hair strewn on the floor and a vast crowd of students teeming at the edges, filled with adrenaline, watching and getting thrills from the witnessing thereof).

These altercations are seen as the NORM because students engaging in them are coddled and the peaceful majority of students are the real victims— living in constant awareness that for reasons unknown to them and that can and will never make sense to them — West High and the District are engaging in experimental, ill-advised, and dangerous tactics to essentially bend over backwards to not “offend” the OFFENDERS.

My son is also aware of and afraid, as are most students, that at any given moment, the PARENTS of the violent pupils can and HAVE enjoined the fray themselves, coming upon school grounds or adjacent — to add their fists to the fury, to add their own poor choices to the equation — to add their own adult level danger which can potentially include being armed. 

Due to your policy, students at West have to fear not only violence from and among their fellow students, they also have come to fear the potential of violent ADULTS who are the parents of the violent pupils and who have NO qualms about getting down and dirty and exchanging violence with fellow parents and/or pupils.

A separate but unequal standard?

The overall situation at West raises concerns about the culture of accepted violence and non-discipline which is policy in Madison schools apparently. The origins of this insane policy are not clear to me … PERHAPS the policy is an attempt (albeit severely and horribly misguided) to not make things even worse and to just accept that certain subsets of pupils have within them an innate lack of self-discipline that just has to be accepted as a fact of life — an attitude which in and of itself is terrible and which does NOT seek to expect the best and bring out the best in all students. 

Perhaps once would even be jaded enough to think that the policy seeks to bring about some sort of equity in discipline — by NOT disciplining those who act in violent ways … in effect bring some sort of leveling as to what subsets of students end up disciplined more.

… These pupils, allowed to continue in this mode of unacceptable behavior, have likely come to see the police stepping in as just a temporary hindrance and not anything to really have any deterring effect to make them reconsider continuing that lifestyle of violent aggression.

My son and most of his peers have come to feel there is no safe space from this subset of pupils — and that it is just a fact of life — almost as if living in a war zone —that it is only a matter of time before all hell breaks loose again, They are shell shocked, living with PTSD, and living in constant fear because they KNOW that nothing will come of it when these things happen – and they KNOW that is exactly why they KEEP happening.

‘West is not a safe place’

I can tell you, Principal Boran … that [a] majority of West students DO FEEL that West is not a safe place to go to school … they are all too horribly aware of the stark reality that a CONCERTED UNWILLINGNESS TO CRACK DOWN ON UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIORS — essentially a NON-DISCIPLINE POLICY – is what creates an environment that any concerned parent would find untenable, unacceptable, and frankly, would see as a broken system. The vast majority are therefore at the mercy of the tyranny of the few who DO engage in repeated unacceptable aggressive behaviors – and at the mercy of the school policy that coddles the offenders and brings fear to the hearts of the students who behave properly and just want to learn and make it home each day without “incident.”

… I can tell you there are great numbers of TEACHERS as well who feel the same way but who are all but silenced and made to submit to the groupthink that engenders such insanity — for fear of rocking the boat.

Irony of ironies, barely a week after a similar disturbance at La Follette High School and the school shootings at Parkland, Florida, the Madison School board is considering doing away with cops in schools. I’m attending the meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21, at school administration HDQ, Room 103 of the Doyle Bldg., 545 W Dayton St. Madison.

About David Blaska

Madison WI
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43 Responses to Three Madison high schools erupt in chaos Monday noon

  1. madisonexpat says:

    I’ve said it before, if you attend Madison high schools and are not racist going in, you will be coming out.


    • brightdark says:

      I had a college friend who was there to be a teacher. A few years after we got out I ran into him again and found out he had quit the profession. Why? Simple: He took a job in the NYC school system and had to leave after a couple of years. Burnout but also because he didn’t like where his attitudes towards the students were going.


  2. AnonyBob says:

    They seem to produce plenty of graduates that reject racism. You’re projecting (no surprise).


  3. Dave, not B says:

    I think it is time Governor Walker deploy the National Guard to Madistan schools.


  4. Balboa says:

    It used to be the only place for kids to go to get away from this type of thug anti social behavior was school. Sure glad Madison board and unions helped make anti social behavior acceptable again. Yeah Team!!!


    • Eric says:

      Our Union was the ONE factor that served to counter-balance the power of the superintendent and board. Since ACT 10 our district has declined in so many more ways than tolerating unacceptable behavior. And, believe me, the behavior is completely out of control. Too many think every issue belongs to the left or the right. Folks need to start using their imagination and intellect to see its not so simple. Otherwise, we just fight like the “thugs” in school – no different, really.


      • @Eric;

        “Since ACT 10 our district has declined in so many more ways than tolerating unacceptable behavior. And, believe me, the behavior is completely out of control.”

        This “Mission Creep” has been a slowly increasing drumbeat for a damn site longer than Act 10 has been on the books.

        The Gotch


      • David Blaska says:

        This is rich, Eric. Gang fights at the schools are the result of Act 10! (Snort!) Last I checked, Madison Teachers Inc. was still raking in the dues. They’ve got an high-paid exec director enjoying fancy new digs on Nob Hill. When will he speak out?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jon Burack says:

        I agree with Dave Blaska, this is rich, Eric. If the unions would put teacher control of classroom order on the top of their agenda, their popularity with the public would soar. Instead of getting tax payers to pony up a few more dollars for health care insurance the likes of which they taxpayers themselves never see, perhaps some union attention to making life safe and sane for both teachers and students might help them restore confidence in them. It is laughable to suggest this is a big priority for them. It simply never registers as important at all when the rubber hits the road.


  5. westsidesue says:

    First of all, I just love what you’ve done with the Manor…really tarted it up! 🙂 Second of all, damnthemalltohell – they are setting our kids (THANK GOD MINE ARE ALL GROWN) up for potentially worse than just a “small” melee where the cops have to go in to calm that crap down. I went to some tough schools in Boston, but this bloody well takes the effing cake.


  6. madisonexpat says:

    ABob, these are relatively new lessons being taught in these high schools. Thug life and gang banging are recent imports. Possibly metastasizing. It does require liberal governance however. It will flourish in Madtown because as long as they can blame the dysfunction on something imaginary; systemic RAY-cism, white privilege (meaning white guilt), global warming etc. no individual will be confronted much less punished.
    This is the bigotry of low expectations.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. JMM Class of ’73 (GO SPARTANS!!) Back in the day, disputes were handled by meeting someone out at the bike-racks by the tennis courts.

    Now? Fuggeddaboudit!

    Up until Wally Schoessow got pushed out (by Principal Taylor?), he’d intervene in the occasional hallway kerfuffles. Now no one will step in, and I can’t say I blame them.

    You’ve got family members illegally entering to redress any “dis,” usually manufactured, and Madison Lefties (most, not all) will clutch their pearls and repair to the fainting couch.

    I’ve always said that if every Madison HS had a Wally, a Milt McPike (may he rest in Peace!) and their female equivalents, most of these problems wouldn’t escalate.

    Starting a little over 30 years when running through JMM grounds, I started to notice a “transition” in the form of increased ”tagging,” or what @AnonyBob, et al, would call Urban Artistic Expression, on edifice walls.

    Think it’s gotten better, stayed the same, or gotten worse?

    I’ve had candid conversations with my former FB coach John “Johnny O” Olson, which I’ll keep to myself so as not to incriminate him.

    The Gotch


    • Batman says:

      I remember Schoessaw ordering me and my best friend to do push-ups in the locker room because we were screwing around while nobody was there. We obediently complied because we knew we were wrong and also because we recognized authority when we saw it. Beth Emshaw on the female side. Thems were the good-ol-days…

      RIP Johnny O. aka Buff. Good guy, one of my coaches and gym teachers.


      • @Batman;

        Johnny O, whom I just call “Coach,” is still with us, I saw him out at Pick-n-Save/Junction Road on Saturday. McPike passed 10 years ago next month.

        Wally started at JMM in 1969 or 1970, pre Nautilus Weightlifting Machine days. He’d tie plates onto an already loaded-to-the-max bar to get up to the 310 plus he wanted to bench.

        And I remember Emshaw (sp?). Sounds like we’ve chewed some of the same dirt.

        The Gotch


  8. Pingback: At Madison high schools beset by brawls, school board considers booting cops | Stately Blaska Manor

  9. Batman says:

    Thanks C. G., my bad. I misunderstood. Have been away for 33yrs.
    I knew Billy O. and his wife from Orchard Ridge and then Memorial. Was Billy O. Johnny’s brother? Glad to hear Johnny is still kicking.
    Was Kolseth the guy that was aka Buff?
    I knew you or knew of you. You may have known my sister. I had two siblings above me and one below.
    Schoessaw was physically intimidating but a good guy, at least that was my experience.


    • @Batman;

      The late Billy O (07/03/1979, Bill Olson and his wife Margaret were killed by a lightning strike on a golf course in Lake Delton WI.) was Johnny O’s younger brother.

      Kolath was a female gym teacher/coach, you thinking of Mr. Kolpien?

      The Gotch is a nom de plume I started using after getting harassed by gutless Lefties for the Letters-to-the-Editor I submitted under my real name.

      I went to JMM from 7th through 12th grade, but I knew everyone from Orchard Ridge, still hang with a few of them.

      The Gotch


  10. AnonyBob says:

    Can you two try to stick to any kind of point here? Or do you want Baldy and me to get in some meaningless to everyone else conversation about people we might’ve both known 30 years ago? I know, you think everything I say is meaningless, but you get my point.


    • @AnonyBob;

      “Can you two try to stick to any kind of point here?”

      I’ll go out on a limb here and opine it didn’t occur to you to pay no attention and just scroll past?

      Of course it didn’t, that would be anathema to The Lefty Way.

      “Or do you want Baldy and me to get in some meaningless to everyone else conversation”

      A slow lob to an admittedly weak man rarely turns out well for the lobber.

      Anywho; to wit:

      *If a Conservative is down-and-out, he tries to better his situation.
      *A Lefty wants to know who is going to fix it for him.

      *If a conservative doesn’t like a talk show host, he switches channels.
      *Lefties want those they don’t like to be silenced.

      For your reading pleasure: “If Lefties don’t like it, they ban it!”

      The Gotch


      • old baldy says:

        “If Lefties don’t like it, they ban it!”

        And surely the same can be said for “righties” (although they surely aren’t right). Act 10 is a great example, but also includes a plethora of measures taking items of local control away from the locals – over 100 since 2010 and still counting..


  11. Batman says:

    I knew about Billy O and spouse dying and how. Thanks for confirming about him being Johnny’s younger bro. I had Kolpien for Gym and swimming coach. Do you remember Johnny O having the nickname Buff because of his haircut?
    Madison HS environment sure has changed from when we were there. I would home school my kids.

    Beware; bobo is half troll, half human. Respond accordingly.


  12. madisonexpat says:

    Dammit Gotch and Batman, you’ve made me agree with ABob.
    You two get a (chat)room. We don’t come here to scroll through your nostalgia.


  13. ”The vast majority are therefore at the mercy of the tyranny of the few who DO engage in repeated unacceptable aggressive behaviors”

    Hmmm, wonder if this has anything to this?


    ”(Suzanne) Venker goes on to explain that of CNN’s list of the ’27 Deadliest Mass Shootings In U.S. History,’ only one was raised by his biological father since childhood. (bolds mine)

    Murphy Brown and the “I Have Two Mommies” crowd unavailable for comment.

    The Gotch


    • AnonyBob says:

      More wisdom from FoxPropaganda. Out of 11.4 million single mommies in this country, 26 produced mass shooters? Correlation does not imply causation.


      • Batman says:

        Check the correlation between crime and fatherless criminals bobo.


      • @AnonyBob;

        “More wisdom from FoxPropaganda.”

        That came from FoxNews? Who knew?

        “Out of 11.4 million single mommies in this country, 26 produced mass shooters?”

        When yer right, yer right. I should have had the presence of mind to confirm that that’s the ONLY statistical knock on single-parenting…which it is…right?

        ”Correlation does not imply causation.”

        True again, the only place it does is in reference to the Global Warming that’s here and worse than the models predicted.

        The Gotch


      • AnonyBob says:

        Oh, I never said that’s the only knock on single parenting. There are many downsides and societal costs to it and I’m no fan of it. What I’m ridiculing is correlating it to mass shootings. That’s just silly, boys. If you’re using Venker’s logic, you missed the ONE glaring thing ALL 27 shooters have in common: THEY’RE ALL MALE! OMG! We as a society have to DO something about that!
        (More people getting the vapors from Fox, the network that makes you even less informed.)


      • August123 says:

        “Out of 11.4 million single mommies in this country, 26 produced mass shooters?”

        Check the prison rolls. Vast majority had no father figure in their lives.


  14. Batman says:

    Mass shootings are just the extreme end of the correlation between fatherless boys/girls and crime, bobo.


  15. The progressive religion is white power over blacks says:

    Give the blacks what they want; their own school system, by and for blacks. The results will be the same of course. Ring sports during lunch hour, free childcare for 16 yos, mandatory race scolding class, how to understand us you bigot class, and how to J walk in front of moving traffic so we can stick it to whitey after school programs. Of course, all of this earns college credit.

    Cops can’t do anything about low impulse control and low future time orientation genes. Neither can teachers. Neither can tax payers. Neither can progressive 1984 style speech codes and trolling.


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