Parents up in arms over CHS fightSep 30th, 2013 | By Candace Griffin | Category: News
Many parents and even a few students showed up at Tuesday’s School Board meeting to confront the board regarding a fight that broke out at Chalmette High School that same morning. Parents say that they were receiving calls from their children who said there was an altercation going on at the school and they did not feel safe—they even claimed that the school was put on
lock-down for an extended period of time.
There were numerous rumors swirling around claiming that this altercation was a riot and went so far as saying that the SWAT team had to be called, so the Board addressed the parents with the hopes of putting them at ease. However, the parents were not satisfied with what they were being told and this fight was more than just an small altercation.
Students were in fact put in “lock-down,” but it was only for a short amount of time, said School Superintendent Doris Voitier.
“After the fight broke out we asked that the teachers hold their students in homeroom,” said Voitier. “They were told to lock the doors and students were to remain their so that faculty and the police department could remove the students involved in the fight, from the campus. Students were then released once this was done.”
Supposedly several boys got into a fight near one of the back entrances, but it was broken up within minutes by a few faculty members, said Voiter. She went on to say that the Sheriff’s Department arrived soon after and the students involved in the fight were removed from the school.
Many parents accused the school and School Board of not reporting the facts of the fight—stating that this altercation was being downplayed so as not to give a bad image to the Parish’s school system.
“We’re all outraged that this happened today,” said Billy Cure, whose son attends CHS. “My son texted me saying that he didn’t feel safe there, and that he wanted me to come get him. That’s a problem! The kids are saying that this fight isn’t over—that it is going to continue tomorrow and maybe into the future. I can tell you one thing though,
my son won’t be there.”
Cure and several others also complained that the overcrowding of the school is what is spurring some of this violence. Currently, CHS is the only high school in the parish and it houses nearly 1,700 students.
“This school is obviously overcrowded,” said Cure. “How many of the students here aren’t residents of the Parish?”
Voitier responded by assuring the parents that residency checks occur throughout the school year, and that to her knowledge, all of the students attending the school are indeed residents of the Parish.
However, many people were claiming that they know for a fact that there are many out-of-parish residents attending the school— Voitier responded by asking for the students names so that these accusations could
Midway through the meeting the crowd and the Board were heart wrenched when CHS sophomoreEmily Lapara got up and spoke about her experience at the school.
“I was scared at school today; it’s not ok to feel that way,” said Lapara. “I’ve been bullied at school and I don’t feel safe there. I’m done with this and I’m not going back. I’ve decided to be home schooled. There are fights all the time at the school, but no one ever does anything about it, and when I would make complaints about being bullied no one did anything about that either. I feel like there’s nothing else I can do.”
Lapara’s parents are fully in favor of Emily’s decision and are pulling her out of the school system. Many other parents have threatened to do the same if this problem is not resolved.
“Every child has the right to be safe in our schools,” said parent, Jill Indovina while addressingthe Board. “If something doesn’t happen soon the good parents are going to start pulling the good kids out of the school and the bad kids are all you’re going to be left with. How do you feel about that? Something needs to be done!”
Voitier and the rest of the Board addressed the parents questions as best they could and tried to assure them that they will take into consideration everything that was mentioned and suggested during the meeting. Also, Voitier said that the students involved in the fight will not be allowed back on campus until the investigation of this incident is complete. She also noted that they will be doing everything they can to make the students feel safe.
The fight was captured on one of the school’s video cameras and is currently being reviewed by the school and the Sheriff’s Department.
“The Sheriff’s Department will be on our campus until further notice,” said Voitier. “You’re children will be seeing a prescence of deputies at school. We’re still reviewing what happened, but in the mean time we’ll be doing everything we can to keep the students safe.”