Lawrence holds an emergency meeting on school battles


Several community members attended the meeting between the city school committee and city council.

Lawrence High School teachers and staff “check in” just before the morning bell to address student-student violence at Lawrence High School that they say often extends to faculty and staff. Jessica Rinaldi / Staff of the Globe

An emergency meeting between the Lawrence City Council and the Lawrence School Committee has been called Monday night to discuss the number of fights going on at the school.

Some demanded that the supervisor, Cynthia Paris, resign from her position. According to WCVB.

The meeting was called due to squabbles between the students which also resulted in the staff being injured. Six fights broke out at school last Tuesday, and one more took place During the class last Wednesday. The latter led to the arrest of three students.

After Tuesday’s fights, Additional police have been set To school. One of the students said that the girl was bitten by a leg during an altercation.

“We did not expect the intensity of the level of emotional responses our students are going through,” Paris said during a school board meeting last Wednesday. According to WCVB. “Kids left middle school and showed up in high school with very different requirements and expectations, and very little preparedness for that.”

But Mayor Lawrence Kendres Vasquez, who supported the teachers who organized Monday’s rally, said it was about the state’s decade-long patrol of the district. He said control should be brought back locally.

“It’s beyond COVID,” he said on Tuesday, as reported by WCVB. “It is about the structural changes necessary to ensure that we provide the best quality education and a safe environment for our students and teachers.”

Earlier in the day, more than 100 people protested the ongoing violence, citing staff shortages as partly responsible for the battles, to me Boston Globe. The meeting included a petition to end state custody.

“We cannot ignore the problems students bring to school with them and go straight back to their test without making any effort to rebuild a school community,” Kimberly Barry, president of the Lawrence Teachers’ Union, said in a statement obtained by the newspaper.

Students also expressed their concerns during the meeting. Pedro Santos who is studying in high school, She said He and others feel “outcast” and are not listened to when they are talking to a teacher or principal.

“When we talk to them we feel like, ‘Oh, that’s a waste of time,’ he said.” If we don’t change our society, how will we change children? …This is for our youth. You have to think of everyone. We must have sympathy. …we have to act now. Not tomorrow, not later, the present.”

To address concerns, area authorities have talked through making some changes that would impact current and long-term problems to help stop the fighting. This can include counseling, uniforms or identity checks, According to NBC10 Boston.

Another measure discussed was to ensure that there was a better working relationship between the school, the city, and the community. The news station said talks have been suggested about the future of some school principals.

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