Clayton Co. schools see 200% jump in student fights, district says
ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - After a triple-digit percent increase of fights at one metro Atlanta school district, its superintendent is issuing both a warning and a plea. But the concerns for parents and educators go beyond just one county.
“It only takes a few to disrupt a class or disrupt a school, which disrupts everyone,” said Dr. Morcease J. Beasley, Clayton County Superintendent.
In the Clayton County School System where the academic year has hit week four, the district hit another number too, a disappointing one, explained Dr. Beasley in this week’s YouTube Live session for parents.
“Fighting is unacceptable at any time, in any school year but we have seen an increase of 200%,” he explained.
They’re working with the juvenile court to address the weapons and fights but the county is not alone in its worries.
Thursday, Rome Police Department confirmed to CBS46 that over the past few days officers responded to Rome High School for several fights. It led to the arrests of about 17 students, some 20 battery-related charges.
This comes after a group of students were pepper-sprayed by SROs to regain control after a fight “intensified” at Cedar Grove High School in DeKalb County.
Metro parent Tamika Saffo says there’s been one too many videos of kids attacking each other in the past year, no matter the district.
She sighed, “it’s just sad the way these kids are fighting the way they fight.”
CBS46 obtained 2021-22 school year data from Georgia Department of Education. It reveals there were 56, 520 student fights statewide.
A statistic local educator Marvin Burroughs is related to social media. Burroughs argues that more kids are posting and mimicking unruly behavior.
“Every kid has a phone. So, they are doing what they want and they’re doing what they see,” he adds.
It’s why the 35-year veteran teacher is even considering retirement come next year.
“I don’t know yet. I’ll see but I’ll definitely -- probably make a change.”
According to a June 2022 report commissioned by GaDoe, in which the University of Georgia studied teacher morale across the state, Georgia teacher burnout is reaching a record high. Among the many reasons, staff reported their mental health taking a toll. Mental health, which leaders say is not improved by the troubling trend of student violence.
“Parents we need your support, we need do need your support, " Dr. Beasley pleaded.
CBS46 reached out to school systems across the area, Henry, Cobb, and Cherokee confirmed its districts experienced a decline in fights.
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