School's Fake Injury Day draws complaint from parent

Pacific Middle School tradition called inappropriate

By Susan Parrish, Columbian education reporter

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To celebrate Spirit Week at Pacific Middle School Jan. 29-Feb. 1, Tuesday was Crazy Hair Day, Wednesday was Duct Tape Day, Thursday was Fake Injury Day and today is Green and Gold Day. Wait! Come again? Fake Injury Day?

The father of a student takes issue with Fake Injury Day and called the school to state his opinion. Teacher Griffin Peyton, who is the Associated Student Body adviser, returned the parent's phone call Thursday morning.

Then the parent, who didn't want to be identified, called The Columbian. He said he served more than 20 years in the Marine Corps, including combat tours, and he isn't squeamish about violence, but he doesn't think Fake Injury Day is appropriate in light of recent school shootings.

Fake Injury Day has been part of the school's Spirit Week for more than 10 years, according to Lonnie Hockhalter, associate principal who is serving as acting principal while Principal Kathy

Stellfox is on medical leave. Hockhalter sat in and listened to Peyton's phone conversation with the parent.

"We've never had a complaint about this day," Hockhalter said. "It's been a tradition for quite some time. It came through the ASB officers as something the kids wanted to do."

What is Fake Injury Day? Only about 15 to 20 percent of students participate. The fake injury can't interfere with the teaching and learning environment, Hockhalter said.

"Students use crutches or wear Ace bandages," Hockhalter said. "No fake blood is allowed. That's not appropriate. We would ask students to remove it."

The parent said he thought Fake Injury Day was insensitive considering that grief counselors had been at the school on Tuesday after Pacific sixth-grader Ashneet Sandhu died Monday as a result of a car accident in India, where she had been visiting family.

Fake Injury Day will be discussed at the upcoming parent group meeting later in February, Hockhalter said. Pacific Middle School is in the Evergreen school district.

Susan Parrish: 360-735-4515; http://twitter.com/Col_Schools;susan.parrish@columbian.com.