LAWRENCE, MASS. (WHDH) – Parents and teachers are demanding change after a series of knock-down, drag-out fights have been breaking out on an almost daily basis at Lawrence High School.
At a protest on campus Friday night, parents and teachers rallied for an end to the state’s nearly-decade-long control over the Lawrence Public School district.
School committee members said state control has led to a lack of transparency, leaving them unable to hold the superintendent accountable.
“We’re a poor marginalized community this is not the fault of the parents,” said committee member Joshua Alba. “This is the fault of the school committee and parents not having a say in how the district is running things.”
More than 20 brawls have erupted on campus in recent weeks leaving teachers and staff injured and some students potentially facing charges.
Superintendent Cynthia Paris says the pandemic’s effect on in-person learning may be to blame for the students’ deteriorating mental and emotional health. Her students say that is not quite the case.
“I’d say that it has worsened due to the social and emotional toll but I am going to say the violence has been going on for quite some time,” said Julio Mejia who organized Friday’s rally.
In response, Paris has brought more police on campus and adjusted student schedules in an effort to curb the fighting. Though some are still calling for her resignation.
“The superintendent needs to make a decision sooner rather than later about what the fate and future of her service to the city of Lawrence will look like,” said Mayor Kendrys Vasquez.
Vasquez has called an emergency meeting set for Monday to discuss the issues going on in the school and the future of the state’s recievership. He has not said whether he will be calling for an end to the state’s control.
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