Nearly half of the people who took part in the KHOU 11 School Safety Survey said that there was fighting or violence at their child’s school.
HOUSTON. Parents of children attending schools in Houston consistently state that safety is paramount.
KHOU 11 News asked them to fill out a questionnaire about fighting and violence at their child’s school. Many of them said the problem was getting worse.
Most of the 428 parents who took part in the KHOU survey on school safety said they had seen videos of children kicking, hitting and hitting classmates between classes. They said that many of the fights are being recorded and posted on social media.
Sam Mayorga, Elizabeth Alanis and Steven Bergman took part in the survey and agreed to meet with KHOU to share their thoughts on school safety.
“There are serious problems there,” Bergman said.
Nearly half of the people who took part in the KHOU 11 School Safety Survey said that there was fighting or violence at their child’s school. Of those who said fights happen, more than a third said they happen daily or weekly.
“School safety is a major concern – my son can go to school every day, feel safe, be able to express his ideas and beliefs without fear of repercussions, so he can walk and learn – that’s the whole purpose of public education.” Bergman said.
Some of the parents who took part in our survey said that their children told them about some scary situations.
- “I’ve heard about guns, knives… children being cut with pencils.”
- “Children bleed after being kicked or punched.”
- “He tells me he’s afraid and doesn’t feel safe.”
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Mayorga, who helped raise her younger sister, said fights happen on the street after school behind buildings.
“They deliberately choose certain meeting places because they know that it will take a long time for the security service or the administration to meet with them. Children are smart,” Mayorga said.
The parents said the fights are advertised on social media.
“Usually on Snapchat because it just appears for a while and then disappears,” Mayorga said.
Elizabeth Alanis said she heard about them from her school-age daughters and at work. She is a teacher.
“I remember one time the students showed me something and I said, ‘Now we’re going to the AP (Deputy Principal’s) office.” It was really an isolated violent attack by a student in a hallway,” Alanis said.
Alanis said the school she teaches was closed due to a school fight.
“We had situations where there were fights on campus. We closed and the kids at my door were talking to me. So I just dragged them into my room and we closed the door and just waited and I mean it was the end of the school day. This frightens both the teacher and the adult. I’m glad I could at least assuage the fears of the students who were with me in the room. But it makes me realize that this can happen on any campus of my own kids, and what are you doing,” Alanis said.
“Often these kids are naughty at school, because there is clearly something going on at home. They don’t know how to control this anger. So then they get into school and they get into a situation where they get molested and that just escalates the situation. One spark is enough for them to go from zero to a hundred,” Mayorga said.
KHOU 11 Researchers studied data from the Texas Education Agency to find out how often fights occur in school districts in Greater Houston. We learned that there were more than 13,600 fights in the last school year, more than in five years. On average, this is about 11 fights per 1000 students.