Students walked out of a high school in Medford, Massachusetts, on Friday morning to protest school violence and to call for more to be done to prevent it and punish bad behavior.
“It’s definitely becoming more scary to attend school,” said Sam Stanley, a senior.
There were two incidents at Medford High School this week. Both were recorded on cell phones and circulated on social media.
“I watched one of the videos involving the situation and seeing it I felt incredibly disappointed that situations like this are still going on in the school,” said Stanley. “And I feel like we should finally speak out about it.”
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One fight involved a boy beating up a girl. In another, two boys were involved.
“It’s so violent and psychologically traumatizing too just to have witnessed it,” said senior Sophia Sylvia. “It’s really unbelievable that we have to deal with that in the school.”
School officials confirm there have been multiple fights this semester at the high school and middle school.
“As a result of the pandemic there are a lot of social emotional needs that have surfaced,” said Medford Superintendent Dr. Marice Edouard-Vincent.
Edouard-Vincent says the instigators are being disciplined, but she can’t reveal specific punishments because of privacy issues, which is a source of frustration for students and parents who want to know about accountability.
“It’s trying to find that balance to be able to say to the students this is what we’re allowed to say and you need to trust the adults and the administrators to be able to mete out discipline appropriately,” said Edouard-Vincent.
Parents who turned out to support the students at the walkout say the violence is unacceptable.
“Kids shouldn’t be in that position,” said Kerry Laidlaw, whose daughter attends the high school.
School officials say they are meeting with groups of students to answer their questions and concerns.
The students who walked out will not be punished for the protest.
“I’m worried about the safety and what goes on,” said Medford High parent Krystal Rossi. “And I don’t want any harm to come to any of these children.”