Parents in Chula Vista are horrified after finding out that dozens of children are taking part in what is being called an after-school fight club.
Alain Tripp has lived across the street from Bonita Vista Middle School for more than a decade. Once the bell rings, he sees students walk along the canyon trail to go home. But lately, he has been noticing something else.
"Every so often I see a group of 15-20 kids. They'll be standing there and fighting," Tripp said.
Tripp is not the only one who has seen fighting just off campus.
Other neighbors said they had witnessed dozens of kids running down the trail on minimum-day Fridays, to participate in organized fights at Discovery Park.
One Bonita Vista Middle School student's mother sent 10News a photo of what appears to be many students scattering after one of the so-called fights.
Parents said the students then upload fight videos onto a secret Instagram account, seeking internet fame.
"They just see a lot of people who are Youtube famous… A famous Youtuber popping up in their heads and stuff," Tripp said. "I feel like every year, kids are trying to grow up faster."
Some neighbors told 10News that they have tried to stop the alleged fights, but they say these keep happening.
Now, the school is stepping in.
10 News got a copy of the letter sent to parents from Bonita Vista Middle School Principal, Teresa Kramer.
Thank you to the many people who brought to my attention a social media post from yesterday concerning fights that occur after school at Discovery Park. In that post, a concerned community member explained that many of our students leave school and head to the park to watch, film, or participate in fights at the park, where there is no supervision. This presents a safety concern for our kids.
I can't speak to the accuracy of this post, but it definitely raises concerns. I am working with the district office and Chula Vista Police Department to address the issue. Please speak to your kids and discourage them from participating in any activity that puts them or their classmates in danger. This activity creates a negative picture of BVM and has the potential to influence the reputation of our students, parents, school, and community.
Let's work together to ensure the safety of our students. And thank you again for your communication. Have a safe and enjoyable spring break.
Neighbors like Tripp, who thought they were just seeing a few rowdy kids, are now offering some advice to keep students safe and out of trouble.
"Come straight home and do what you're supposed to do," Tripp said.