Published in the May 23 – June 5, 2018 issue of Morgan Hill Life
For more than 40 years, the Britton Middle School Carnival has been an annual spring tradition for Morgan Hill families. They come for a friendly few hours spent enjoying thrill rides, games for prizes, and the taste of sweet treats. The amusement turned violent the evening of Friday April 27 when several juveniles clashed with local police officers investigating a report of a witness who saw an adolescent hand a large knife to another teen.
The law enforcement officers faced what could have been a near riot when a crowd of more than 200 formed around the arrest of one of the juveniles. Several people confronted officers and refused to disperse. Additional Morgan Hill officers responded to the scene. As the uncooperative teen was taken into custody, other juveniles attacked and assaulted the officers. Eventually, nearly 60 officers from law enforcement agencies throughout the county came to provide aid. The carnival was canceled for the remainder of the weekend by school district officials concerned for public safety.
We want to spotlight the professional job law enforcement did in handling the situation. Our city has a well-deserved reputation for being generally a safe and peaceful place to live and visit. The events at the carnival are an anomaly. They do not reflect the character of the community. But they do serve as a reminder that law enforcement can be dangerous. The threat of violence can lurk under the surface during a tense confrontation — especially when a weapon is involved. The police faced a frightening potential of the crowd turning against them. Because of their training, they took the right actions to protect the public and themselves.
he violence demonstrated by the juveniles toward law enforcement officers attempting to control what could have erupted into a violent situation does not represent the spirit of Britton either. The vast majority of the school’s students and families are peaceful and law-abiding. The actions of a few teens who showed a lack of judgment by coming to a friendly carnival with a weapon and intention to disrupt the fun should not color the opinion of our community toward the school and its students.
The popular carnival organized by the Britton Home and School Club usually raises about $20,000 to help pay for school functions including assemblies, field trips and dances. The money also helps support the school’s sports programs. Because of the loss of funds, a GoFundMe site was set up to help the school. (It can be found at www.gofundme.com/5y3v7f-britton-carnival-loss.) In 14 days, it raised nearly $10,000 toward a goal of $15,000.
The generosity of the community toward helping the students of Britton demonstrates that people in Morgan Hill take seriously the education of our young people. We encourage our readers to visit the site and donate the amount of funding they feel they can afford to give next year’s Britton students the opportunity of an enhanced education through extra-curricular activities.