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14 students arrested after fights at Southwood High

Southwood High School
Southwood High School
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 5:17 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 17, 2021 at 9:04 AM CDT

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Fourteen students were arrested Thursday, Sept. 16 after two separate fights at Southwood High School, officials with the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office said.

“We had a fight at 9:30,” said Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator. “I believe that there were seven kids that were. I call them kids, that sounds innocent. Seven of these thugs were expelled or sent home.”

Later that afternoon, the school’s resource officer responded to a fight in the campus courtyard in front of the student center. The officer called for backup and at least nine deputies responded.

“A bigger fight started at 3,” Sheriff Prator said. “At that point we had ten or eleven units from CPSO had to come in from where we were patrolling to try and break up that fight. Then there were several more there who were sent home, there will be more that are expelled.”

Fourteen male students were arrested, CPSO says. They are all being charged with disturbing the peace. One student will be charged with battery of a school teacher for allegedly punching the school’s assistant principal.

Another student, Devin Welch, 18, was pepper-sprayed and handcuffed after reportedly resisting arrest and threatening the school resource officer and one of the school’s staff members. Welch has been charged with resisting an officer and interference with the operation of a school.

Devin Welch, 18
Devin Welch, 18(CADDO PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE)

All students will be released to their parents, with the exception of Welch, who has been booked into the Caddo Correctional Center.

Sheriff Prator says law enforcement and the school district are doing everything they can; they’re calling on parents to do the same.

“They are all gonna’ end up dead or in jail if the parents don’t get involved,” he said.

Sheriff Prator says violence has been a problem for the school all year.

“Southwood is one of the schools that we are trying to help with, but we have been having problems and fights with Southwood since the beginning of the school year. We have a gang problem there. We have several gangs that are trying to one up each other and trying to act like grown men when they are just kids. We have got to somehow get a handle on the fact that this is illegal and disruptive behavior that they are involved in,” he said.

The school district released a statement about the fights Friday morning. It reads:

“Caddo Schools condemns any act of violence. This week our district saw violence from the community make its way onto a school campus. Caddo recognizes the surge of incidents at Southwood High School and as a result, there will be random searches and increased security. We thank our law enforcement partners from the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office for taking this matter seriously and increasing their presence at the high school. District level security has also been increased and will continue to support our schools in maintaining a safe learning environment.

The individuals involved in any violent activities will continue to be held accountable by the Sheriff’s Office in accordance with state law. In addition, disciplinary action from the district will also be upheld. School is not the place for violence and we will do everything we can to ensure our schools are the quality learning environments every child deserves.”

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