Owen High students celebrate a year without fights

Julie Ball

BLACK MOUNTAIN - Owen High students sat on blankets on the football field Wednesday listening to music and eating snow cones.

They tossed footballs, kicked soccer balls and faced off in games of tug-of-war.

It was all part of the school’s year-end celebration of a major accomplishment – not a single fight was reported this year on campus.

“I told them (students) a couple of years ago when we started working on the no-fight goal that when they made it a whole year with no fights, that I wanted to do something really awesome for them,” Owen High Principal Meg Turner said.

Owen has seen the number of fights on campus gradually decline from a high of 23 in 2012.

“This isn’t a one-year wonder situation. We’ve been working on fights for several years,” Assistant Principal Jim Lewis said.

The school was still having fights despite its zero-tolerance policy.

“We were having two to three fights a month here in this building, and we just decided to put the message out that that was not acceptable and that we needed to solve problems with our words and not our hands and our fists,” Turner said.

Lewis said students now come forward when they are worried classmates might be getting ready to fight.

“Kids are aware of what our expectations are, and I think students take pride in the fact that we’ve not had fights here,” he said.

Owen has put in place Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports. The idea is to reward positive behavior. The school periodically has celebrations for students who have earned positive behavior commendations.

Owen sophomore Collin Stout says students have “a lot more activities to keep us busy.”

“There’s a lot of student groups that make the school better. I think it really helps out with better attitudes,” he said.

The schoolwide celebration was organized with the help of a couple Owen High grads who were home from college, according to Turner.

The event featured music from Travers Brothers Band, with former Owen students, and Andrew Scotchie of the River Rats, a graduate of Early College.

“I was just looking forward to having a great day,” sophomore Sean Hemeon said of the celebration.

Stout called it “a great way to kick off the summer.”