Kids need structure with consequences. It never, and I mean never, works to have a classroom, let alone a school, without a set of real procedures and meaningful consequences. Students respect that, but people downtown seem to bend to the maybe 10-20 kids at every school who just don't want to follow the rules.
It should not take 4 fights for referral to alternative school. Maybe a student gets involved in a fight once; stuff happens. Multiple fights, however, are not simply not okay. They create a disruption to literally every other student. Some of my best students last year couldn't focus because the culture of the school had so disintegrated.
None of the adults that make the decisions would ever want another student to fight their kid 4 times before alternative school. People need to think of it that way. Would they want their phone or wallet stolen 4 times before a real consequence occurs? On top of that, the students that seem to fight the most are usually not involved in extracurricular activities, so that consequence is meaningless.
How about the consequence of assigning a mentor from the school board instead of ISSP? How about the people downtown running all of the ISSP classes? These rules would change in a heartbeat.