Legalities of Fights on Campus

School versus public consequences and when it’s legal to film fights


Staff member Kiana Glenn created this political cartoon in response with the recent controversy surrounding the fighting. It shows the struggles the administration deals with in managing the social media, reasonable punishments for the students caught fighting or filming, and the angry backlash of parents and students. Facebook and other social media platforms have played a big role in the situation.

Rebecca Donaldson, Business Editor

Between Oct. 4 and Nov. 8, 16 fights occured on school grounds. Parents brough multiple concrens to the board on how the school is repsonding. Although these physical altercations are prohibited, the board is working to bring clarity to the student consequences.


According to the Shawnee Heights Board policy, the term “physical alteration” includes hitting, slapping, punching, pull, kicking, etc. After parent concerns were expressed and administration told their perspective, the board moved to create a new directive to be morespecific following these circumstances. The directive states any student who intiates a physical altercation with a closed-fist punch will be suspended for the remainder of the school year and recommended for expulsions.. Administration is in charge of determining if the particpants who did not initiate the fight was self defense. If the actions are deemed not self defense, they will be.

So what if the same situation occurred out of school?


If a minor were to engage in a physical alteration outside of a school event, in a public place, the consequences would be determined by law enforcement. Depending on the minors previous criminal history, an arrest could lead to misdemeanor or a felony charge.

If the fight were to be determined a misdemeanor, the minor would likely be released, however, a felony would lead to more serious consequences. Battery and disorderly conduct are regarded as misdemeanors while aggravated assault is a felony (Juvenile Crime).

In Kansas, assault is any threat or act to cause a person to fear impending bodily harm. Assault using a deadly weapon, a disguise to conceal identity, or with intent to commit a felony is regarded as aggravated assault (Criminal Defense Lawyer).

So what about filming fights?


If a fight were to occur in a public facility between two individuals, regardless of age, it would be legal for a civilian to record the occurrence. However, if the altercation took place on private property, it may be deemed invasion of privacy.

Kansas has a “one-party consent” law, allowing anyone to record videos as long as at least one individual is aware of the recording. It is illegal to record if all parties are unaware of the recording (Recording Conversations).

However, whether or no recording fights at school is allowed is still debatable. The board attempted to address the confusing policy at their Dec. 2 meeting. A proposal that has not yet been voted on explains if a student is caught recording a physical altercation at a Shawnee Heights event, the phone will be confiscated and the video will be removed. The individual will recieve three days of out-of-school suspension. If the video was sent to other students, an additional three days will be added. Suspension for the remainder of the year is a consequence for posting the video to any social media website, such as YouTube or Facebook, according to the revised policy voted on by the board at the Nov. 20 special meeting.