Family wants answers after son charged for self-defense at Fargo North

FARGO, N.D. (KVLY) A Fargo woman reached out to our Whistle Blower Hotline because she says her son is being charged with a crime for defending himself at Fargo North High School.

"They took his homework, he tried to take it back. One of the kids pushed him, Jalen pushed him back. The other kid jumped in and started beating my son up," Larisa Patterson said.

A classroom fight in August landed Patterson's son, Jalen, in the principal's office with a four day suspension.

"The first thing the principal said when he walked in the door was, 'First of all, I want you to know, that Jalen did nothing wrong. But according to school policy he was involved in this altercation and we have to suspend him,'" Patterson said.

But that was the last time Patterson says she's heard from anyone at Fargo North.

"We haven't received any letters in the mail, any paperwork, anything like 'Okay, this was done, this was done, but we need to talk about this.' Nothing! Not a word," Patterson said.

And Patterson says she thought it was all over—until yesterday.

"We get this letter in the mail saying my son, the victim here, is being charged with disorderly conduct," Patterson said.

And she says the letter is caused Jalen to go into a panic—not wanting to step foot back in his school.

"Well he's scared to death now because he thinks he's gonna go to jail!" Patterson said.

Patterson says a pamphlet attached to the latter makes Jalen out to be a criminal—talking about putting him in accountability workshops.

"It's not like he's the one that started this. If he did, then yeah we'd be going to see the judge and we'd be talking about severe punishment. Because I didn't raise my kids that way," Patterson said.

Fargo Police say their incident report lists the charge as a 'disturbance of a public school.' However, Jalen's letter from Lutheran Social Services states otherwise.

And we asked Fargo Public Schools for a comment on why that would be, but they didn't want to talk.

"This is too much, this is over the top. This is ridiculous! My son didn't do anything wrong," Patterson said.

Patterson says she's furious and confused, adding that she's going to fight until she gets answers.

"I get it. He was involved in it, the suspension is what it is. We accepted that. But I don't accept this. You're not going to charge my son with disorderly conduct when he's the victim here," Patterson said.

We also asked why Lutheran Social Services got involved in the matter, but couldn't get any answers. LSS declined to comment on the incident.