KIPP Gaston College Preparatory

KIPP FAILS TO STAND UP FOR ITS REPUTATION, September 30, 2010, The Daily Herald (Roanoke Rapids, NC)
…As many have undoubtedly already heard, 10 KIPP football players have been suspended for Friday’s game for their role in a fight last week on the campus of Northwest Halifax High School.

Northwest Halifax staff, the school resource officer and deputies from the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office were called to the scene last week to break up the fight. Once it subsided — authorities say with little in the way of actual injury — the fallout was significant.

Seven students (one from Northwest Halifax, six from KIPP were arrested), last week’s KIPP football game against the Central Virginia Disciples was canceled and the Roanoke Valley was left buzzing with questions of how students from the area’s highly-regarded charter school could be part of such an ambush-style attack.

On the surface this appears not to be a one-on-one fight but a coordinated effort by nearly a dozen students to leave one school’s campus and drive to another for the purpose of singling out a student for a brawl.

Without comment or explanation from KIPP staff, the community was left with rumor and innuendo.

In the days since the fight took place, The Daily Herald made numerous phone calls to KIPP’s main office, principal Tammi Sutton’s cell phone and the school’s board of directors chairman Ron Smith. No one has answered. No one has spoken up…

It is in times like these when we all need school leaders to stand up and be accountable.

KIPP leaders, where are you?

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AURELIAN SPRINGS — Students fighting in a high school parking lot led authorities from the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office to take five youths into custody and charge one with assault, and led to the forfeit of a football game at KIPP Gaston College Prep. Friday afternoon, according to Halifax County Schools Public Relations Coordinator Keith Hoggard, two cars rolled up to Northwest Halifax High School, the sheriff’s office said one was a Crown Victoria, and parked behind the school’s 1000 building. Hoggard said school assistant principal Dennis Taylor and school resource officer Daniel Jones went out to investigate the cars, which Hoggard said were filled with young men.
Those in the cars told Taylor and Jones they were there to pick up a cousin, and the school officials told them they had to check in at the office to pick up any students. One of the cars, Hoggard said, left the school, but the other circled to the teacher’s parking lot and attempted to conceal itself behind a larger car.

“The young men got out and got on campus,” Hoggard said.

“And they did assault one other student. It does appear that student was singled out.”…

Evans arrested Cooper, 17, and Jones arrested four others, according to Evans. Cooper, a player on the KIPP Gaston College Prep football team, was charged with assault and trespassing…

Ricky Riddick, head coach of the KIPP football team, confirmed he had 10 of his players involved in the altercation, but he does not know the motivation behind it.

“All I know is the kids left school and went over to Northwest Halifax. The Northwest Halifax coach called me and told me there was a fight. The administration is dealing with the kids.”

Riddick was forced to forfeit Friday’s football game against Central Virginia Disciples out of Richmond, Va. Riddick said the season may have to be re-evaluated, depending on what happens to the students involved…

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