Less than a week after a caught on camera brawl left staff injured and some students in handcuffs, members of the Cheltenham High School community packed an auditorium to let their voices be heard.
A fight occurred at the school Wednesday morning that injured several staff members, including one who was knocked unconscious. While arrests were made in connection to the incident and the school vowed to increase security, many students remain concerned about safety. One of those students is Paige Kytzidis, the Cheltenham High School student council president.
“We have never gotten a reaction like this despite all the circumstances and all the altercations where, quite frankly, students have been injured, and no one has done anything,” Kytzidis said during a meeting Monday night that was prompted by the brawl.
Kytzidis, a senior at the school, said the Cheltenham School District had lingering problems well before Wednesday’s fight. She suggests more mental health and counseling services as well as a youth court to help with the ongoing issues.
“I feel like the students now feel like they've been listened to after being denied for years,” she said.
Cheltenham School District Superintendent Wagner Marseille told the crowd that since the fight, the district has increased the number of safety officers, moved the assistant superintendent to the high school full time and increased meetings with mindfulness and cultural proficiency consultants.
“I’m hoping that he can show us as parents tangible results and not just show talk because the audience is here,” Tiffany Matthews, a parent of a student at the school, told NBC10.
Markee Terry told NBC10 his daughter, a junior at Cheltenham, was a victim in two fights but got in trouble both times, which he believes is unfair.
“As of now I don’t have a lot of confidence in the Cheltenham discipline system when it comes to doing right by who did what,” Terry said. “I’m putting my trust in you to leave my child here. I don’t think it’s right for her to come to you as a staff and you do nothing and then she gets in trouble, locked up and probation.”
Marseille also suggested a school focus group comprised of students, parents, teachers and staff.