Mill Creek's response to fight laudable

A "severe fight" is not something any principal wishes to happen at his or her school. But when you're dealing with so many students, sometimes it does.

And when it happened this week at Mill Creek High School, Principal Jim Markham and the school distinguished themselves by the way the aftermath of a Tuesday fracas was handled. The school's principal quickly posted a video message on the school's Web site, explaining what happened and how he and the school are handling it.

He did not attempt to whitewash the situation, but he also made it clear that such behavior will not be tolerated. The old adage was that schools taught the three R's, but in this case, Markham stuck to the three C's: he confronted the situation, communicated to the public and castigated the participants.

He announced that there had been a "major disruption" and a "severe fight" - an accurate description of a melee that involved at least six students and that was recorded by a camera phone and posted on YouTube. He also said the students involved identified themselves as a group or gang called "2-1."

But Markam also attempted to reassure parents, to peg the incident as an aberration and to make it clear that the behavior of "thugs" - as he called them - will not be tolerated.

"The presumption that we're out of control is completely erroneous," Markham said in the video. "(I have) no problem explaining what we do under any circumstance."

Markham's video proves that, serving as a good example of how to handle a bad situation and surely settling the nerves of many concerned students and parents.

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