After a riot at West Bladen High School resulted in ten arrests yesterday. Students and parents had the chance to relax today, but for teachers, it was back to work.
West Bladen students say concentrating in class is hard enough without worrying about safety.
After yesterday’s fights, school administrators say they’re taking the steps to make sure the students can once again focus on their studies. “School is pretty hard by itself, and all this other violence and stuff around me; it’s just not good,” said sophomore Joshua Britt.
As of Monday afternoon, sheriff’s deputies arrested ten people involved in the riots at West Bladen High School. Since then, there have been two more, and they’re not finished yet.
Deputies now say the incident did involve community gangs.
Bladen County Superintendent, Dr. Ken Dinkins said he won’t stand for gang disputes at school. “They’re not going to bring their problems to the school. If they do, we are going to deal with it in a very very swift and firm manner.”
All was quiet Tuesday. Students had the day off for a previously scheduled faculty service day, but many say they’re worried about returning to school Wednesday.
One student posted a comment on our web site. “It’s not safe at WBHS. I’m scared to go back. This is not the first time I’ve been afraid.”
Some parents say their children want to transfer. “My 16-year-old would like to go to another school, a private school,” said Sarah Baysden.
But Dr. Dinkins said the schools and students are safe. He said the administration will learn from the experience. “It gives us a chance to reflect, and say what do we need to do to improve our discipline code, to improve the safety in our schools, and we’re going to do that.”
Wednesday, West Bladen will have metal detectors at the door, and more sheriff’s deputies will be on hand.
However, School Board Chairman Berry Lewis said the problem extends beyond school walls. “We need to have more community awareness I think, and that’s what were trying to do now; get out into the communities with the parents and let all the stake holders get involved.”
That way the students can focus on their education. After yesterday’s incident, Bladen County schools are also adding a new rule; any student involved in a similar situation will get ten days out of school suspension.
Dinkins said all Bladen County schools are partnering with community members to help deal with the problem.