Farmington Schools releases fight investigation details

As Farmington Hills Police continue to look into a January 10 fight at North Farmington High School (NFHS), Farmington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Bob Herrera on Tuesday issued a statement recapping the district’s investigation.

The incident happened on school grounds after a North Farmington-West Bloomfield basketball game. The West Bloomfield student, who was seriously injured, is a former North student and played on the Lakers team.

Superintendent Dr. Bob Herrera said that student privacy laws had prevented him from releasing details, but the parents of a North Farmington student involved in the brawl gave him permission to share information.

“By doing so, I hope to provide a clearer picture of what occurred that evening and correct erroneous information that has appeared on social media and in some media reports,” Herrera wrote in a letter to parents.

The district’s findings, he said, are “based on surveillance footage from both inside and outside the building, video from other sources, as well as witness statements.”

Herrera continued:

“Although these two students have never engaged in a fight before, NFHS administrators knew the students did not get along, so they made a concerted effort to keep the two students apart after the game. Shortly after the game, both the West Bloomfield student and his friends appeared to begin to approach the NFHS student across the gym. The West Bloomfield student and his friends then exited the gym and the North Farmington student remained in the gym talking with coaches and friends.

“On that evening, the West Bloomfield Basketball team did not have a bus for students to return home after the game. The expectation was that students would either go home with their parents or drive via their own vehicle. The West Bloomfield student remained on school grounds after his mother left.

“More than 10 minutes later, North administration began to clear the crowd from the gym and the halls. The West Bloomfield student had exited first and then the North Farmington student. When the North Farmington student exited the building, the West Bloomfield students were still just outside the doors. The West Bloomfield student approached the North Farmington student and they exchanged words and began pushing each other. At this point, the North Farmington student was grabbed by a friend and turned to walk away from the West Bloomfield student. The West Bloomfield student then ran in front of the North Farmington student and threw two punches striking the North Farmington student. The two students then engaged in a fight and it went to the ground where two other individuals, who have been identified as being from West Bloomfield, can be seen kicking and punching the North Farmington student. The fight lasted just over one minute before the School Liaison Officer, the Principal, and FHPD officers working the game saw what was happening and intervened.

”Students were interviewed by police, and both families were contacted after the altercation. One of the Farmington Hills police officers asked the West Bloomfield student’s family if they wanted to have their child transported to the hospital to be checked out for any injuries and they declined the officer’s offer. We reiterate that behavior such as this does not reflect the values of Farmington Public Schools, the students who make up this wonderful learning community, nor the positive culture that we foster in our school community. At Farmington Public Schools, we pride ourselves in promoting respect and care for all, and this type of behavior will not be tolerated.”

District spokesperson Diane Bauman said the North student was disciplined for his involvement in the fight.