RUMFORD — The number of days a student may be suspended for fighting has been doubled to 10 at Mountain Valley High School.

Principal Matt Gilbert said the change is the result of four fights on school grounds during the middle of the month. They involved boys and girls from all grades.

He said eight students were suspended for 10 days. During that time, the students were responsible for getting homework from their teachers and turning it in when they returned to class.

He said the fights are the apparent result of comments students posted on one of the several social media pages available outside of school.

“These kids go on social media outside of school without supervision,” he said. “It’s easy to access social websites.”

He said the school has looked into increasing security on the school’s servers, but such action would restrict the students’ use of iPads.


“How do we minimize the issues that are created by social media?” he asked. “How do we insulate students from the stuff that is there?”

Following a schoolwide assembly, he met alone with the senior class to emphasize the importance of leading by example.

“I believe the seniors are taking a more active role,” Gilbert said Monday afternoon.

Gilbert and Superintendent Craig King were concerned by the outbreak of fights.

“Our role as educators is to help students learn from their mistakes and help them make better decisions,” he wrote. “I am pleased that Mr. Gilbert and the faculty have the courage to address this issue and are asking students to take responsibility for their behavior so that students can have a better and safer school.”

Gilbert agreed.

“There is greatness here in these halls,” Gilbert said, citing, among other things, that the school has the Oxford County Teacher of the Year, has seen many sports teams qualify for playoffs, and conducted a successful food drive for the Good Shepherd Food-Bank.

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