EXCLUSIVE: Fight at Plymouth High School concerns parents about safety

A fight at a local high school, caught on camera, has parents wondering how effectively their children are monitored during school.

Friday, April 4, a brawl erupted between two male students during study hall at Plymouth High School. According to students, the aide assigned to monitor the quiet period left the room before any punches were thrown.

From behind a red plastic chair another student filmed the incident on their phone and posted in on Facebook. Several parents saw the video and commented about their surprise and concern about safety and security.

“Physical fights are not as common. If they don’t happen as often, admins, teachers, and aides aren’t well equipped with the knowledge of warning signs” said one parent.

Another said “I want to know without a shadow of a doubt my kids will be safe. That’s the school’s job while my child is in that building.”

Aaron Coffey, a senior at Plymouth, said he’s worried that if students know no one is watching and that they’re not always being supervised more fights and dangerous situations could arise.

“Some people say it’s not that big a deal, it’s just fighting, but for the kids going to school, maybe they’re afraid and can’t defend themselves,” said Coffey.

Coffey said students are smart and recognize the repercussions of starting a fight in a teacher’s presence, but if a teacher isn’t in the room Coffey said he wouldn’t be surprised if more physical altercations occurred.

Superintendent of Plymouth Community Schools, Daniel Tyree, agreed that it is the schools’ jobs to watch over students during the day. However, Tyree said it would be impossible to monitor all of the students all of the time.

“You have about 100 staff member in an absolutely huge building so there’s always nooks and crannies, there are always going to be situations where a fight can break out and there’s not going to be supervision” Tyree explained.

Teachers are often put in difficult positions when fights do occur. In order to physically break up a fight teachers have to be trained in crisis prevention, otherwise their options are limited.

In an effort to ramp up safety the district said it’s going to install 300 security cameras to be eyes when there are no teachers around.

The principal of Plymouth High School is investigating the incident, trying to determine whether or not the aide left the study hall, as students allege he did, as well as determining the reason for the departure. Students in the study hall claim the aide frequently leaves, adding that other aides in the school aren't always paying close attention to what’s happening.

If the aide is found at fault for leaving without adequate cause discipline could range from a letter in his file to a suspension depending on his history. A need for discipline has not yet been determined.

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