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School officials are investigating brawl that broke out at restaurant after Redmond, Eastlake prep basketball game

STAFF REPORT

In the aftermath of a brawl following a rival boys high school basketball game between Redmond and Eastlake on Jan. 4, school officials are continuing their investigation of the night's events.

Dr. Ken Lyon, Lake Washington School District (LWSD) director of student discipline and hearings, said, in a situation like this, the district typically investigates promptly and thoroughly and they have a protocol in place.

This protocol includes involving administrators from the schools involved, looking to see what happened and if any part of the student code has been violated. If the code has been violated, they will look at the consequences, which may include disciplinary action.

The section of the LWSD student conduct code that relates to last Friday's fight reads:

"Negative Community Action — Washington State Law provides for the implementation of school discipline for actions performed outside of school that may adversely affect the educational environment of the school.  Examples include, but are not limited to, acts of vandalism, theft, assault, drug and alcohol use and sales, inappropriate computer/network behavior, harassment occurring off-campus, including the inappropriate use of email, texting, Skype, or other internet or electronic communications such as to harass or harm others."

Lyon added that if the police are involved, the district will get information from them, but the district will still do its own investigation.

"We try to do the investigation promptly," he said.

However, there may be cases where the district may be asked to wait by the police so they can do their investigation first.

Kathryn Reith, LWSD director of communications, said the district has a good relationship with all of the police departments within the district and they don't ever want to impede on police work, so they will cooperate  in these cases (if they're asked to wait to investigate).

Lyon said it's normal for schools to have a rivalry in sports and a little bit of friendly competition among them, but a fight like last Friday's goes beyond that.

"It's not normal for schools to go past the rivalry," he said.

Sammamish police officers responded to calls of multiple fights on Jan. 4 at the local McDonald's.

According to Administrative Sergeant Jessica Sullivan, seven officers responded to the scene shortly after 9:10 p.m., to find 50 people milling around the parking lot.

Witnesses told the officers that several Redmond students walked into the fast food restaurant and began taunting Eastlake students. Redmond had just defeated Eastlake in a close game, 59-56.

Sullivan said the taunts escalated into a physical fight that involved parties who fled before police arrived.

Officers located one 16-year-old male from Redmond, who was bleeding from cuts to his head and had minor facial swelling. The boy told officers he saw his friend fighting, so he decided to jump in.

He said he did not know the reason for the fight and would not identify any other involved parties. The student was treated by Eastside Fire and Rescue and released at the scene.

Neither the Sammamish Police Department, King County Sheriff's Office, nor Redmond Police Department have received subsequent assault reports.

Sullivan said she was unable substantiate a rumor that someone was hospitalized as a result of this altercation.

Sullivan added that while rivalry games can get heated between fans, "we haven’t been called for anything like this in Sammamish in recent years.”

According to Redmond Police Department Officer Mike Dowd, he's seen a handful of altercations between Redmond and Eastlake fans at sporting events during his 23 years with the department, but none in recent years.

In a non-Eastlake flare-up in 2009, a Redmond fan ran onto the court and punched a Garfield player in the face during a boys basketball game at Redmond High. The student was arrested and charged with fourth-degree assault and disorderly conduct.

Dowd said the problems have dwindled due to the police and school administration working together to maintain calmness at events.

Kevin Endejan, Andy Nystrom and Samantha Pak contributed to this report.

 

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