BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Multiple violent fights broke out this week at Riverside High School in Buffalo leading teachers to demand action from the Buffalo School District.
Video shot by students and obtained by News 4 shows female students punching, kicking, and shoving each other in a series of fights. The fights were believed to have been fueled by social media comments which may have been about boyfriends and various insults made. There also may have been a challenge posted to see who could stage the best fight.
The school took measures to prevent the fights by ordering students to stay inside their classrooms Tuesday afternoon.
Thursday, a group of teachers from Riverside gathered outside the school and told reporters that they have been calling on the district for months to take further action to prevent student altercations.
Data released by the NYS Education Department’s Violent and Disruptive Incident Reporting (VADIR) system details every violent act reported in schools. In 2014, Riverside High School reported 21 Minor Altercations without weapons, 59 incidents of Intimidation, Harassment, Menacing, or Bullying without weapons and 16 reports of drug possession.
EXTRA | View VADIR data at any school within WNY by looking up a school below
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“Nothing has been done,” said Phil Rumore, President of the Buffalo Teachers Federation. “Something must be done before somebody is more seriously hurt than they have been.”
The district’s response to the incidents were that they were “scuffles,” claiming no one was hurt, but that students involved would be disciplined.
Teachers who witnessed the fights have a different view.
“I’m trying to teach a physics lesson and all of a sudden it’s bedlam in the hall, and there’s blood,” John Bihr, a physics teacher, said.
Teachers say only a small number of repeat offenders are ruining the learning process for all the rest. Reports say 15 students were suspended after Tuesday’s fights.”
“It’s the same group of students that are causing the problems in this building, daily,” said Ann Kokolus, who teaches biology at Riverside.
Teachers say fights also broke out Monday.
Marc Bruno, who represents the union at Riverside said a girl’s head was being slammed into the wall. Bruno says administrators at the school could be doing more to weed out the violent students and put them in an alternative high school.
The Buffalo Teachers Federation wants an action plan developed to end what it says is an escalation of fights and disruption at Riverside High. It also is asking for increased security in all Buffalo public schools.