Gibbs student responds to fight video
A video of two girls fighting in the middle of a classroom at Gibbs High School caught the attention of the community this week, prompting dismay from some in the Pinellas County school system who say that such footage hurts the image of a school that has been making significant improvement.
Board member Rene Flowers mentioned it on her Facebook page. She told the Times that she was "extremely hurt" by the video.
Gibbs has struggled with a tough reputation for years. Last year, it had more out-of-school suspensions for fighting than any other Pinellas high school. It also had the highest rate of suspensions in general. School officials note that the school has improved its grade to a B and say that arrests and fights are down this year.
Now Alexandra Fox, junior class president, has written a letter in the school's defense. She said the way that Gibbs has been represented in the video is unfair.
Here is the full text of her letter:
I am totally disheartened with the well-intentioned but totally misinformed coverage by many Tampa Bay news outlets on the viral video of a fight at Gibbs High School. As a junior at this historic school, I can assure you that the way Gibbs has been represented in this clip is unfair. Throughout my time here, I have seen this school grow and prosper into the “B” school it always had the potential to be (and was, for nearly 30 years). A 27-year teacher informed me that teachers once referred to Gibbs as the “Best kept secret in Pinellas County Schools”. Administrators, teachers, and even students have made a profound effort to move away from the reputation the school had garnered in the past. The extensive coverage is due to this past and would have never been so large-scale if an altercation occurred at another school in the district. In fact, fighting is a problem at most (if not all) schools in Pinellas County and much of the rest of the state. Walking through the hallways at Gibbs, there has never been a time where I felt unsafe. “UFC style brawls” (as some outlets have referred to) are not a common occurrence at Gibbs. It simply isn’t the truth. It is very easy to report on the negatives of a school that was once very weak; but not enough attention is given to the strength we’ve accumulated over the past few years.
~Alexandra Fox, Junior Class President"