ANDERSON — This week, Anderson Community Schools is reaching out to parents at Highland Middle School and Anderson High School.
They're addressing safety concerns after videos of fights from the school day have been shared on social media. Their statement on the situation is below.
"As a school corporation, there is no greater responsibility than to protect the health and safety of our students. We take this responsibility very seriously. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts to prevent them, student altercations can and do happen on occasion. When they do, our staff is trained to act quickly and appropriately. Principals at Highland Middle School and Anderson High School have worked with central office staff on plans to provide additional security during after school events, as well as increasing staff presence during key times of the school day. We encourage any student or parent that has information or concerns of any kind to report them immediately.”
Antonia Troutman is one of the parents who is concerned. She said her daughter was jumped by four other students after getting threatening messages online. The attack was recorded and shared online.
"She tried to do the right thing by contacting me and trying to get help with the situation. We went to the appropriate staff official and the situation still transpired," Troutman said.
Her daughter hasn't been in school since it happened on Oct. 1.
"It's really been a long process trying to get her back in school, get her back on the right path," Troutman said.
Troutman spoke at last week's board meeting about the situation.
"My issue is that notifying the school of the situation and threats my daughter received, my child was still assaulted in the presence of the dean," Troutman said.
WRTV asked Superintendent Dr. Joe Cronk about Troutman's concerns. Cronk could not got into specifics because of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a student privacy law, but he did talk about school fights in general.
"That's not commonplace. Every school corporation, every large school is going to have altercations. We're quite well aware of it. All our schools have police officers in them. We have deans in them, staff to take care of those situations," Dr. Cronk said.
Troutman tells WRTV, she heard from the district and received an apology. She's hopeful they follow through with plans to increase safety in Anderson Schools.
"I appreciate the apology, but I can't send my daughter into this when there's so much chaos. This is not a learning environment for anyone, Troutman said.