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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Darrell Arthur’s high school used cage fights to help students settle differences

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— Workers at a high school staged cage fights among troubled students, making them settle their differences with bare-knuckled brawls in a steel utility cage inside a boys locker room, school district documents show.

The principal and other employees at South Oak Cliff High, where former Kansas University basketball player Darrell Arthur went to school, “knew of the practice, allowed it to go on for a time, and failed to report it,” according to a 2008 report from the Dallas school district’s Office of Professional Responsibility. The documents were obtained by The Dallas Morning News for a story in its Thursday editions.

The report describes two instances of cage fighting between 2003 and 2005.

Dallas schools Superintendent Michael Hinojosa confirmed that there were “some things that happened inside of a cage” and called the fights “unacceptable.”

No criminal charged have been filed in the case.

Former Principal Donald Moten denied the allegations, saying he had nothing to comment on because the fights never happened.

“That’s barbaric. You can’t do that at a high school. You can’t do that anywhere,” said Moten, who resigned in 2008. “Ain’t nothing to comment on. It never did happen. I never put a stop to anything because it never happened.”

But a middle school counselor who was fired from the high school and has filed a whistleblower lawsuit said Moten and members of the school’s security staff encouraged the fights.

“It was gladiator-style entertainment for the staff,” said former South Oak Cliff employee Frank Hammond. “They were taking these boys downstairs to fight. And it was sanctioned by the principal and security.”

A district spokesman declined additional comment Thursday.

“This is a personnel matter and we’re not authorized to talk about personnel,” spokesman Jon Dahlander told The Associated Press.

The report said Hammond didn’t see any of the fights. Hall monitor Gary King told investigators he witnessed the head of campus security and an assistant basketball coach place two students in the cage to fight.

District investigators described the cage as an equipment area in the boys locker room separated by metal lockers and wire mesh. In one incident, a security monitor tried to fight a student in the cage, but Moten broke up that fight. In another incident, Moten told security personnel to put two fighting students “in the cage and let ‘em duke it out,” according to the report.

The district’s report is dated March 17, 2008, and emerged from an investigation into grade-changing allegations that eventually cost South Oak Cliff its 2006 state basketball championship. Last month, the University Interscholastic League stripped the school of its 2005 title as well because the team used academically ineligible players.

In 2006, Moten accused Hammond of changing a student’s grade, and the district placed Hammond on administrative leave. Although an appeals judge reinstated him, he was later fired.

Comments

kuballa23 10 years, 10 months ago

"Ain't nothin to comment on...," says the former principal. No wonder they needed to change grades.

killabees 10 years, 10 months ago

Undoubtedly one of the oddest headlines I've ever seen.

Scott Perlmutter 10 years, 10 months ago

My high school in California did the same thing, except it was in the varsity locker room with gloves. This isn't too bad. Although my high school had a steroid problem and had our State Championship game and wins vacated because we had a 23 year old posing as a 16 year old from the Dominican Republic playing basketball for us.

irish2255 10 years, 10 months ago

my high school use to set up knife fights between the janitors and the lunch ladies.

JBurtin 10 years, 10 months ago

Somewhere in the midst of this story is a Chuck Norris joke waiting to happen.

Fred Davis 10 years, 10 months ago

Changing grades is the least of this school's problems... KU fans should be lucky Darrell made it out of that place alive....

rupedog 10 years, 10 months ago

umm... this sounds like a headline from "The Onion!"

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

The Federal Government needs to invade Texas.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

The Federal Government needs to send in Eliot Ness. Something is very wrong down there.

JayhawkPurist 10 years, 10 months ago

After reading this headline and reading this story, I consulted my calendar and was shocked to see that it wasn't April 1. I agree with njjayhawk: let's move on from Darrell Arthur's high school. We know it has its share of problems, but what good is reporting on it in Lawrence, KS going to do? Leave it to the Dallas media to try to clean things up.

KUbsee69 10 years, 10 months ago

I personally witnessed sanctioned fist fights at my suburban high school in Kansas. The gym teachers would allow students to settle their differences during gym class, but stepped in an stopped the fights if they go "too violent". They were bare knuckle. This was in the '60s.

Jaybate, I think that Texas should invade. Somebody has to stop the liberalization & associated government spending insanity.

WilburNether 10 years, 10 months ago

No-class "jouralism" from the Lawrence Journal-World. This story has absolutely nothing to do with Darrell Arthur personally (he left that school several years ago), and going out of their way to link him to the steel cage matches is a cheap, lousy exercise in yellow journalism.

It is as if a KU player came from that H.S. in SE Kansas where a school board member recently fired a shot into a neighbor's house. I can see the Journal-World's headline now: "School Board Member at Former KU Star Joe Blow's High School Charged in Shooting."

How stupid can a newspaper get?

JesseMarks 10 years, 10 months ago

WilbruNether and others,

This sure is some 'no-class' and 'lousy, yellow' journalism that the Journal World should be condemned for.

Except that it was written by the ASSOCIATED PRESS, and picked up all over the country!

How stupid can negative poster get?

JesseMarks 10 years, 10 months ago

WilburNether and others,

This sure is some 'no-class' and 'lousy, yellow' journalism that the Journal World should be condemned for.

Except that it was written by the ASSOCIATED PRESS, and picked up all over the country!

How stupid can negative poster get?

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

KUbsee69,

News for you. When you let a bunch of Texas pirates vote fraud their way into the White House to rob the treasury blind with global cronyism for eight criminal Bush years, the society and economy does not rebuild itself. They even took the freaking bootstraps this time. Got to prime the pump for the other 99 percent for awhile.

KUbsee69 10 years, 10 months ago

jabate ... I probably shouldn't get into a battle of wits with you because it's not fair to fight an unarmed man ... but you are insane.

When Texas does invade, I hope they deport all of you under-informed liberals to France ... no, wait, France is too good for you. How about Iran.

Lin Rahardja 10 years, 10 months ago

This is cruelty against humanity. Just like Mike Vick against animal lovers. May we suggest to jail the person in charge...

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