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Caddo superintendent speaks after 22 students arrested in 2 days for fighting

2 groups of teen girls involved in Friday’s fight
Southwood High School
Southwood High School(KSLA)
Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 11:44 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 17, 2021 at 3:30 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Another fight was reported Friday morning (Sept. 17) at Southwood High School just one day after 14 students were arrested for a different fight.

According to dispatch records, officers responded to the school around 9:45 a.m. Despite heightened security there, eight students were arrested Friday morning for fighting, the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office says.

Deputies say two groups of teenage girls between the ages of 14 and 17 were involved in the fight. They have all been suspended pending expulsion and are charged with disturbing the peace. They were all released into the custody of their parents.

In a news conference held Friday afternoon, Caddo Parish Superintendent Dr. T. Lamar Goree said they believe the fight began at an apartment complex the night before and spilled over to the school’s campus.

He also noted that the school system is seeing some issues with gangs. He mentioned some of the students involved in the fights will be expelled and sent to alternative schools, but stressed that the school district is still responsible for them.

FULL NEWS CONFERENCE:

“I do think it’s important to note, many students haven’t been engaged because of virtual learning. Some issues are with transitioning back to life on campus. Much of it is related to a surge in gang activity. It won’t be tolerated at our schools,” Dr. Goree said.

The superintendent also committed to increasing random metal detection tests at Southwood High.

“We will do random searchings, that means metal detectors. We will have to reach out to students to create a safety net. Look at the situation yesterday. There were four attempts to fight and we prevented that for a large part of the day,” Dr. Goree said. “I have no doubt in my mind that Southwood will be safe. The students involved are our students. We have to keep them safe.”

Sheriff Steve Prator spoke as well, saying these “gangsters and thugs” need structure and support from their parents as well as the school. He urged parents to get involved in their children’s lives and what they share on social media.

“Parents have responsibility to send kids to school that have discipline, with a desire to learn something, not just wanting to come in and stir up strife. I want parents to get involved with what they’re doing on social media and after school. If they’re out of the house at 2 a.m., someone needs to get involved with these kids’ lives,” the sheriff said.

The Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office says eight female students were arrested Friday, Sept. 17,...
The Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office says eight female students were arrested Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 after fighting at Southwood High School.(CPSO)
The Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office says eight female students were arrested Friday, Sept. 17,...
The Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office says eight female students were arrested Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 after fighting at Southwood High School.(CPSO)

A member of the school board, Tony Nations, also spoke during the news conference.

“I have had several phone calls from parents expressing concerns about the safety of their students at schools. I’ve tried to allay their fears by letting them know we’re doing our best. We’re hear to educate students and anything that interferes with that, we can’t tolerate it. We have to do what is necessary to prevent anything that disrupts the learning process,” he said.

CPSO says due to security concerns, several deputies have been sent to patrol school grounds. This is in addition to increased security provided by the school district.

KSLA’s Kenley Hargett is covering the story. He’ll have more details throughout the day on News 12.

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