Dozens of students have been staying home from Groves High School, saying that they're afraid of gang activity. Parents are looking for answers and administrators are trying to see how to solve the problems. It was standing room only as hundreds of parents, students, administration members and city and county leaders gathered at Groves last night. The main topic of the meeting was student safety.
"When there's more fights going on than the staff knows, we've got a problem," concerned parent James Hall said.
The school's new principal, Dr. Lucy Phillip, has only three fights on record for this school year, but students are saying otherwise. One student said she'd witnessed more than 16. Students say it's gangs, an issue that's hurting attendance. "Some threats were made to me and my friends on Friday," tenth grader Brianne Gillespe told us. "I don't feel safe. I stayed out of school Monday and Tuesday."
Some parents are looking for answers at the source. "For three lunch periods I walked these halls," said parent Judy Zipper. "You can't imagine what I saw."
Campus police chief Ulysses Bryant sees there's a problem. He feels parents are part of the solution. He told parents if they want to help, participating in public meetings like last night's is the way to do it.
Dr. Phillip said she knows problems at Groves can't be fixed overnight. She asked for parent volunteers to patrol the halls. Dozens of moms and dads signed up.
Campus police and school administrators say the problem is not gangs. They feel it's a few isolated incidents with the same group of students. Meanwhile, for the past three school days, there have been at least six campus police officers at Groves to make sure things are under control.