Although "a healthy rivalry" exists between Andrew and Stagg high schools, incidents such as the Dec. 7 brawl in which one student is accused of pushing a police officer aren't representative of the relationship the District 230 schools share, a district spokeswoman said.
In these cases, the "poor decisions" of a small group of students take away from the positive things that go on between Stagg and Andrew, said Carla Erdey, spokeswoman for District 230.
"The students work together on a lot of projects in their communities," Erdey said.
Kevin P. Walsh, 18, is charged with battery to a police officer, resisting arrest and mob action following a Dec. 7 basketball game at Stagg High School in Palos Hills. Two juveniles also face charges stemming from a disturbance after rivals Stagg and Andrew played each other.
A uniformed officer attempting to disperse a crowd of students after the game was pushed, Palos Hills police confirmed Thursday.
One parent familiar with the Dec. 7 arrest said Walsh is an All-Conference linebacker for Andrew. All three boys were suspended from school following the arrests.
“What happened, shouldn’t have happened. It was handled wrong," the parent said. She believes the three students were standing up for their fellow students during the fight.
Stagg, Andrew and the district handle security at intra-district events in the same manner they would if it were any other school, Erdey said.
"There's always communication among the schools," Erdey said, adding that school officials always attend these games. "We make sure that it's a safe environment for students."
But Erdey said the district is always looking to improve, and administrators have had discussions about the Dec. 7 incident, although she didn't have details on what was addressed.
Erdey would not talk specifically about Walsh or the other students involved in the fight, citing privacy issues. Discipline is handled at the school level and follows district guidelines, she said.
In the case of fighting, students face these consequences, according to the district's student handbook:
- one to 10 days of out-of-school suspension
- parents are notified, and there must be a parent conference before the student is allowed to return to school
- a recommendation for expulsion could result
- police are notified
Two officers from the Palos Hills Police Department, one in plain clothes and the other uniformed, were present at the Stagg High School game, said Deputy Chief Jeff Cucio. Both had police badges and announced who they were to the group of students.
The officers were trying to defuse a nonviolent disturbance between students, Cucio said, when one of the officers was pushed.
"The officer that was pushed was [uniformed]," Cucio said.