Violence is a “no go” at Tahoma


Hannah Sweet, Writer

Everybody at Tahoma High School has heard about the fight that occurred on its campus last week. Some even saw it happen up close, recording videos that immediately spread around the school like wildfire. But the videos aren’t the only things spreading- so are rumors. Was the fight racially motivated  or not?

Word has gotten around the school that the fight was brought on by a white student provoking a student of color, using racial slurs and threatening violence. Most people are convinced that that is the sole reason that the fight happened. Many articles that are being released on news channels are titled something along the lines of “Fight at Tahoma High School Causes Concerns of Racism”. An article on titled “Fight at Maple Valley school sparks concerns of racism” says, “Tahoma School District administrators are investigating a fight after witnesses said racial slurs were hurled along with punches.” Some think that people are only assuming that the fight was due to racism because of how hot of a topic racism has been in the many recent months. A logical explanation would be that it is the easiest reason for people to think of off the top of their heads, especially since there were people of color involved in the fight. 

But one of the students involved in the fight defends himself and his friend against the assumption and the idea that the fight was racially motivated. While being interviewed on The Dori Monson Show, a small podcast, he was asked to describe how and why the fight started. To that he replied, “It was more or less I was at lunch and saw one of my friends getting picked on,” he explained. “I walked over there and said, ‘that’s not cool,’ and the kid wanted to get in my face over it, … and eventually got to the point where I felt the need to defend myself.” He releases his truth, telling his audience that the fight was not racially motivated, but once again a result of common bullying. Based on his explanation, we get the idea that there were two main groups- the bullies and the friends of the victim who were ultimately willing to fight, even if just to defend rather than prove themselves. 

The student also told the interviewer that the only source of explicit racism during the fight came from one small voice in the crowd that formed to watch the fight that day. Here is his direct quote, “No one in my party used (a racial slur). The only (racial slur) used was by somebody who was in the crowd.” The student desperately tries to defend his friends against the racism accusations, even defending the opposite party of the fight in doing so, whether it was intentional or not. Yet the Tahoma School District still responded to the situation talking about racism and diversity awareness in Tahoma, giving a rather lengthy statement to KIRO 7- “Like so many communities in our country, there is evidence of racism and inequities in our district and community, which we have heard from many of our students and we are actively addressing. Our school board has adopted long-term strategies over the last year with a primary goal of eliminating those inequities. We’ve developed an equity steering committee to provide leadership as well as equity committees in the following areas: family engagement, student voices, school culture and climate, curriculum and instruction, professional development, and staffing. Our staff is undergoing diversity training in order to increase our awareness, knowledge and skill as we work to support each and every student. We are utilizing an equity lens to identify patterns of racism in our system and to continue learning and improving for our underrepresented students.”

The fight that occurred on that Wednesday afternoon at Tahoma High School was not racially motivated, but a case of bullying among students.