By Lillian Simpson | Cronkite News
GOODYEAR – While the rest of his class will be walking across the stage in May, 18-year-old Kyle Company will be fighting a legal battle after an incident considered bullying suspended him for the rest of the school year at Estrella Foothills High School.
“It started with two boys apparently horsing around, wrestling,” said Christine Company, Kyle Company’s mother. “No fighting, no threatening, nothing like that.”
Kyle Company faces charges of assault and disorderly conduct in Goodyear Municipal Court and isn’t allowed to participate in senior-year events, according to Christine Company.
“Kyle was moved to an alternative school, not allowed to walk with his class for graduation, not allowed to go to prom, not allowed to go to school events,” Company said.
Estrella Foothills officials won’t talk about the case, citing privacy reasons, but stand by their disciplinary policy to crack down on bullying.
“We really work at changing the behavior,” said Leslie Standerfer, Estrella Foothills principal.
“If you’re not handling the social environment of our campus then we are going to put you in a more focused educational environment.”
Standerfer said disciplinary actions are decreasing as the school expands its good behavior programs — Pack Pride and Victory with Honor. School leaders are exploring having a telephone tip line for students to report situations anonymously.
Kyle Company’s plans to go to military boot camp after graduation could be jeopardized, his mother said, adding the family is trying to get the charges dropped. Christine Company wants to warn parents that situations can spiral out of control.
“Boys will be boys, regardless of their age,” she said. “Older men do the same thing and they goof around and sometimes you push a little too far.”