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Cal City Middle School Madness: Frequent Fights

District superintendent Aguirre asks the community for help and says all must agree that fighting is not an acceptable behavior
Posted at 8:14 PM, Apr 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-16 23:14:36-04

CALIFORNIA CITY, Calif. (KERO) — At times there are five fights per week at Cal City Middle School; some are recording the fights and posting videos on social media; Cal City Police responds to calls at CCMS 8-9 times per month.

  • Cal City Police responded to calls at Cal City Middle School 79 times in 2023.
  • Frank Martinez, a parent, compiled over 30 videos of fights in a three-month span on Instagram.
  • Mojave District Superintendent Katherine Aguirre says the fighting is an important issue. She says it has decreased slightly this year and asks the community for help.


Fighting at school... it happens...

But at California City Middle School... it's been happening at an alarming rate.

Parents and Mojave District staff say there are times when up to five fights per week are going on.

I'm Steve Virgen, your neighborhood reporter...

Parents are upset... district superintendent Katherine Aguirre acknowledges it's an important issue.

<fight action videos>

23 ABC received permission for the use of videos of fights at Cal City Middle School, but the person wanted to remain anonymous.

Fighting at Cal City Middle School is rampant and a huge issue for the community and district staff…

The Cal City police responded to activity at the middle school 79 times in 2023, nearly nine times per month, Police Chief Jesse Hightower told me.

Within the first four months of this year, the CCPD has been at the middle school 32 times.

The calls range from marijuana possession, fights, or even parental disturbances.

Virgen: "How often do you hear about fights that take place here at California City Middle School?"

Nathan Ashcraft, California City Middle School parent: "Daily basis. I've heard of incidents where we'll have an officer here four times a week."

District superintendent Katherine Aguirre told me that constant police support is not the answer for the middle school. She declined to go on camera for the interview... but did say:

"We don't want to perpetuate a school-to-prison pipeline. That's not our function.

We're not trying to criminalize kids."

"The first week, it was chaos," said Frank Martinez.

Frank Martinez is a parent of a home-schooled girl who attended California City Middle School last year.

He tells me within five months, she had to transfer to a school in Mojave.

But the trouble didn't stop.

"I had no choice, I had to get her away from this area," he said.

Overall she was suspended nearly a dozen times.

Within the first three months... Martinez said he compiled over 30 videos of fights that he found on instagram.

There are at least five instagram handles that have fights between students at Cal City Middle School.

Martinez said he did not want to show his face for this story.

Virgen: "Would you ever put her back in this school?"

Martinez: "Not in Mojave District, no."

Aguirre said help is needed from the community.

"Everyone must agree that fighting is not acceptable behavior." she said.

Problems with parents aren't just at the middle school. The district has issued 16 civility letters within the past two years, Aguirre said.

The letters are for parents who threaten or attempt to harm a child or employee.

She added that one adult attempted to start a fight in the parking lot.

"I've heard stories of mothers taking their daughters to another student's house just for a fight. There's no accountability." Ashcroft said.

Aguirre said the fighting has decreased slightly this year, attributing it to behavior incentives and counseling.

Still, there are positions open for psychologists and registered behavior technicians, she said.

"We're very remote, so finding the number of people we need who are qualified in those positions is difficult," she said.

According to the California Department of Education, California City Middle School had the highest suspension rate in the district and among the highest in the county last school year.

The suspensions said they're more than just physical altercations.

In an enrollment of 570 students, 172 students were suspended.

If you're a student at Cal City Middle School and have been experiencing issues with fighting or bullying... notify your parents or teacher.

In Cal City, I'm Steve Virgen your neighborhood reporter.

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