BENTON HARBOR –School leaders, the city, even local pastors are weighing in on what to do about students fighting outside Benton Harbor High School.
A pretty big brawl last week prompted the latest round of talks as the community struggles to find a way to make all students feel safe on campus.
That conversation continued at Tuesday night’s school board meeting, but the board didn’t spend much time talking about it.
You would think dozens of parents would have attended the meeting eager to voice their concerns on the record, but that wasn’t the case.
The only time anyone mentioned student violence was when Rev. Edward Pinkney took the microphone.
“People are talking about Benton Harbor, and it’s shameful and disgraceful,” Pinkney said.
He’s referring to last week’s brawl involving more than 200 kids. The fight did not take place on school property, but many of those seen in the video are students at the high school.
“I had more calls over the weekend than I have ever received from anybody whose students go here,” Pinkney added. “They asked me what should they do or what can they do. I said I can’t tell you what to do, but I wouldn’t send my children there.
The issue may not have been front and center at the board meeting, but the district says some students will be expelled, others suspended.
Superintendent Leonard Seawood says he’s planning to move some of the students out of regular classrooms and put them in a new alternative education program.
“I’m not going to allow them to interrupt the education process of those students who want to learn in this school district,” Seawood said. “All of us are partners together in this. As the school system goes, so does the city. As the city goes, so does the school system.”
Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower plans to gather the NAACP, pastors and school leaders together to talk about ways they can keep a closer eye on students as they leave campus and prevent this from happening again.