Why the ‘fight game’ has led to a lawsuit against the Prince George’s County school board

Allegations of a “game” in which students fight with each other inside classrooms at a Prince George’s County, Maryland, school, are now the subject of a lawsuit by a mother who said that her daughter was hurt in a fight caught on video last month.

Some students are engaging in “The Fight Game,” where students set rules, such as no hitting the face, pulling hair, among others, Cora L. Rice Elementary School Principal Kia Payne said in a letter sent to the school community on March 6.

Sacona Graham said that her 10-year-old daughter was hurt in such a fight. Graham has filed a lawsuit against the Prince George’s County Board of Education, alleging that a former teacher allowed the fifth-grader to be physically and emotionally hurt in a fight.

“For my child to have to endure what she did, it’s not right,” Graham said. “I want justice for my child.”

Footage shows students counting down before a fight between a boy and Graham’s daughter in January. Classmates then cheered and recorded the fight on their phones.

Payne said in her letter that “such behaviors can lead to real fights, accidents and injuries, which we aim to prevent to ensure the well-being of all students.”

Graham said she only learned about the incident recently, when she saw it on social media.

Graham’s attorney Petra Aaron said the teacher, who the school system said has now resigned, “allowed and enticed her fifth-grade students to verbally and physically assault Miss Graham’s minor daughter, while in her classroom.”

Graham said the injuries and fear suffered by her daughter, who has not returned to school, are real.

“I can’t believe something like this actually happened in an elementary school classroom,” Graham said, wiping away tears. “I just hope that every child that has experienced something like this, just be honest, talk to people, let somebody know what you’re dealing with.”

Contacted by WTOP, a Prince George’s County schools spokesperson said they couldn’t comment on the ongoing matter.

The letter from the principal said teachers will monitor bathroom times more closely, and reinforce positive behavior, and “implement new incentives and rewards for students who consistently demonstrate respectful and appropriate conduct in the school building.”

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