North Tonawanda parents form group to curb violence at school district

NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) — North Tonawanda parents say violence inside and outside of the middle school is “out of control.”

Victoria Crago has five kids in the North Tonawanda City school district. A month ago, her oldest son was attacked by his classmates off school grounds.

“He got into an altercation with another boy, he was punched and it happened in front of my wife,” said William Crago, parent.

“It felt like such an assault on normal life, we were coming out of a store with our bags. I was completely blown away, I was shocked, I was traumatized,” said Victoria Crago.

Their son walked away with a black eye.

That incident led to a Facebook group called, “North Tonawanda Coalition for Safe Schools and Streets.” Nearly 400 parents and community members have already joined.

“We came to realize that we were not alone, that there’s a lot of kids who are being picked on, bullied and dealing with violence from certain students in the district,” said Mr. Crago.

Parents told News 4 there’s a culture of violence brewing at the district’s middle school. Their children come home and talk about bullying, drug use and sexual assaults.

The newly formed parent group’s goal is to curb the violence.

“We’ve worked with the school to get a school resource officer at the middle school, we talked about improving the character education programs in the school. We’ve been able to also look at some of the issues with the police department, the juvenile department, if it’s adequately staffed,” said Mr. Crago.

The Crago family says a lot of students no longer feel safe at the school which is an issue big enough to drive people out of the district. That’s why they are now leaning on the community to restore safety in their children’s lives.

“I’d like to see a return to maybe a little bit of old fashioned neighborly concern, I’d like to see people really watching what’s going on,” said Mrs. Crago.

Members of the Facebook group say there’s a lot of questions about how the school district is handling these violent incidents. News 4 reached out to several school officials about the violence, but have not heard back.

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