VANCOUVER, Wash. — Vancouver Public Schools has "emergency expelled" 27 students following a riot last week at a Vancouver middle school.
"They are from multiple schools and are not allowed on any school campus," the district announced in a statement Monday afternoon.
An emergency expulsion is applied "when a student is considered a threat or disruptive to the school or self," according to district spokeswoman Patricia Nuzzo. Emergency expulsions last up to 10 days in order to allow time for the school to investigate and determine final disciplinary action.
On Monday, a 13-year-old boy stood before a judge, one of nine arrested for taking on security and law enforcement at an eighth-grade basketball tournament at Gaiser Middle School.
"It started with people talking and then pushing and then, a group thing," said the boy’s mother, whom KGW is only identifying as Jamie in order to protect her son's identity. "I'm not sure where it went from there, but it went to kids not wanting to back down."
Jamie acknowledges her son was involved.
According to court documents, the teenager pushed and punched a school security officer, then fought back when police chased him down.
The danger is not lost on the boy's mother.
"I could have gotten the phone call saying that he wasn't coming home or that he isn't here to say what happened. And so it's important for these kids to realize how serious it was and it could have been a lot worse," Jamie said.
He son is charged with third-degree assault, failure to disperse, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Many more middle-schoolers were involved in the melee than were arrested. Deputies say 40 or more teenagers surrounded them as they arrived outside the school to help. Thirty officers from several agencies arrived to end the riot.
"School administrators are reviewing video of the incident and will respond with appropriate disciplinary actions," Superintendent Steve Webb said. "The behavior displayed on Friday night will not be tolerated, and every student involved will be held accountable."
It was an out-of-control situation that Jamie hopes her son and everyone involved learns from. She also hopes people don't make blanket judgments about parents or their children.
"He's a good kid," Jamie said. "He made some bad choices but he's a good kid, so we're gonna get through this."
Back inside the juvenile courtroom, a 14-year-old girl was the only other young defendant facing the judge on Monday. She stood alone, with no mom or other family member there to support her. She was charged with third-degree assault and criminal mischief.
The other seven teenage defendants did not appear in court. Privacy laws protect their cases. But in general, first-time offenders or those charged with certain lesser crimes may be eligible for diversion programs.