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Parents: New ‘fighting fad’ leaves students injured at Yucca Valley middle school

Dozens of parents and students gathered Tuesday morning to protest what they're calling a recent wave of 'student violence,' at La Contenta Middle School in Yucca Valley.

Parents and faculty say several students have become involved in what is known as a 'friendly fade.' They explain it as a new trend that involves two friends fighting in front of a camera in an effort to post the video to social media, and bolster likes and popularity. Parents, however, say some students have been the victims of unprovoked attacks.

"My daughter was attacked. There was no police report made," parent Jaime Westmoreland said.

Westmoreland was among the parents holding up signs demanding a safer environment for students. She says her daughter was a victim.

"She was asked to fight at lunch and she refused. She said, 'No, thank you.' Then the next class, she was in her seat getting things out of her backpack and the student asked her friend to start recording and she went up and started pounding hammer fists on the back of my daughter’s neck," Westmoreland said.

Several parents received a call from the district, notifying them about the trend. They say it's also a way for students to gain respect.

"It's not friendly at all," parent Theresa Murphy said.

Murphy says it's much more than what's supposed to be a 'friendly' fight.

"... I have many videos of children being sucker-punched from behind, waking up in the hospital, not knowing how they got there," Murphy said.

The Morongo Valley Unified School District did not specify if there has been a recent increase in fighting on campus.

“It’s something that parents should be talking to their children about and the school is also talking to students about," Morongo Unified School District Public Information Officer, Laura Hall said.

Hall says fights constantly happen on the middle school campus. This year the school is taking on a different approach for disciplinary action.

"The campus is trying intervention programs rather than students automatically getting suspended, students have now the non-suspension program where they’ll come to school rather than go home and sitting if they have a problem. They are getting counseling in those things to try and help them modify their behavior. Rather than send them home and not [get] any sort of modification,  they’re being sent to a program where there’s counselors and intervention specialists that can help them modify their behavior," Hall said.

School officials also say they have increased campus supervision.

A school board meeting was held Tuesday evening on the matter.

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Shelby Nelson

Shelby Nelson is a News Reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. She joined our team in September 2019. Learn more about Shelby here.

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