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Batavia City School District and government officials, as well as Batavia police, are applauding efforts made prior to this school year to limit fights on the high school campus.

After fights the 2012-13 school year rose to 19, officials wanted to send a serious message to students: getting in a fight could mean getting arrested. Working in cooperation with Batavia Police, an increased presence on campus has dropped the number of fights to 3 this last school year.

Police Chief Shawn Heubusch says that if it’s an action that would lead to charges at any other location, then students need to learn accountability.

“The student, just because he’s at school, is a member of this community,” he said. “When he leaves this school, he shouldn’t have to abide by a different set of standards than he does within the school. By applying that consistency and that concept of communication that we have, you should see that student carry that into his personal life.”

School officials say they talk to Batavia Police about how the charges should be handed down and thoroughly investigate each incident, working with parents. They say they back up the law enforcement effort with a support staff of advisers and counselors to address issues.

Detective Richard Schauf says he makes an effort to know each child’s name and be a friendly presence along with other officers. He and Superintendent Chris Dailey visit other schools besides the high school regularly so the kids are comfortable.

“We hope over time that it’s not something new or it’s not a gimmick or something that’s going to go away, but become part of the fabric of the police department and be part of this community of ours” he said.

Dailey said he’s heard students in the hallway remind each other about the consequences of being in a fight – a sign that it’s sinking in and making an impact to deter fighting behavior. Instead of closing a fist, Dailey said they’re now reaching out to adults to solve issues.

Council President Brooks Hawley says improving the high school’s reputation within this collaborative effort also reflects well on the community.

“My hope is that Batavia’s not one of the three or five choices when someone moves into the county, but is their No. 1 choice,” he said, “because of positive things that they hear about the city and the school district and how we all work together with the administration and council as well.”

The school is initiating a citizens’ Code of Conduct Committee to meet monthly starting this fall to continue maintaining progress. Call the district office if you want to get involved: 345-2480.

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