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Student's father criticizes handling of school cafeteria fight

By Joe Beck

The father of a Strasburg High School student is disputing a decision by police and school officials to press charges of disorderly conduct and assault and battery that grew out of a cafeteria food fight on May 7.

John Funkhouser said Friday that school officials should have handled the incident without resorting to the juvenile justice system. Funkhouser said his son is scheduled to appear in Shenandoah County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on June 27. Two girls, 16, have also been charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct in the case.

"Anything that goes on in school, whether it be a fight or somebody throws milk on somebody, the principal or vice principal used to handle it," Funkhouser said. "Now they want to get the police involved."

Police said the case is more serious than Funkhouser is portraying it.

"He made it sound like it was a simple food fight," Sutherly said of a conversation he had with Funkhouser. "If that was all it was, I'd be shocked. After talking to the school administrators and the officer at the school, it was lot more than just a food fight. It was an actual altercation."

Sutherly added that the students "were actually hitting each other with trays and utensils and other things."

Strasburg school officials refused to comment on the incident.

Strasburg Maj. Jerome Robinson described the incident as the product of "an ongoing feud that ended with an assault on the male from one of the 16-year-old females. The male retaliated by throwing a tray of food. In return, the females threw their food back at him."

Robinson said none of the students was injured.

Funkhouser said his son flipped over a tray on one of the girls "because she spit in his face."

Kids are kids," Funkhouser said. "I do not put up with any misbehavior at school. But when something does happen, and people lose their cool, I don't expect the law to get involved in everything that goes on."

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com


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