Five Jefferson High School students are arrested after what police are calling gang-related fights at the school Wednesday. Many parents and students say violence like this is becoming the norm at Jefferson.
Students 23 News spoke to say Wednesday's fights were not as bad as the near-riot that shut down Jefferson back in September, after principal Kenneth Jackson was temporarily suspended. But they say continued violence makes them feel unsafe at their school.
A student sent 23 News video of the fights. Rockford school district leaders say the fighting started around 1:00 in the cafeteria during lunch. They describe the incidents as "name-calling, pushing and shoving" between a few dozen students. They say no one was hurt and classes were not interrupted. But many parents came in early to pick up their kids.
One student says violence is getting out of hand. She says another student attacked her during class Thursday.
"She pounced on me and punched me and tried to pull me over the teacher's shoulder, the teacher was between us trying to stop us. Parents need to get involved, something needs to happen. Teachers are here to teach. Not to be security guards," says Jefferson junior Colleen Lang.
The five students arrested Wednesday faces charges from disordly conducted, to resisting arrest, obstructing an officer and aggravated battery of a probation officer. Principal Jackson suspended all five of those students. He declined further comment. Classes are on as scheduled Thursday.
District leaders are working on a number of initiatives right now to improve school security. They are training all teachers on emergency response tactics. As well as attempting to bring more security guards and hall monitors into the schools and investing in an electronic notification system to instantly alert parents when an emergency occurs.