Southwood HS fights prompt conversation about better mental health resources in schools

SHREVEPORT, La. – Fights at one Caddo Parish school last week that led to suspensions, expulsions, and arrests for more than 20 students have prompted a conversation about the reasons behind the on-campus violence and what can be done to stop it.

Caddo Parish Magnet High Senior Autumn Sommers believes school fights like these are just the tip of the iceberg.

“Because a lot of students who get into fights, often there’s something stressful going at home and the way our schools deal with it is they penalize students when they really should be taking a step back and analyzing what’s causing those fights in the first place.”

Carla Collins, CEO & founder of Be The Village, says Southwood isn’t the only school in Caddo Parish dealing with these issues.

“It’s the whole student body, not just Southwood. It’s, again, C.E. Byrd they had two, three fights. Captain Shreve had quite a few. Airline had fights. They were ripping the doors in the bathroom and stealing toilets.”

Sha’Torius Taylor, who attends CE Byrd, says the school administration is not listening when parents or students come to them for help.

“Try to tell the parents, and the parents come to the proper sources, and they still don’t take it seriously. And then they get to these schools and the fights break out and you want to send them home when they tried to come to a resolution before it got to that,” Taylor said. “And that disconnect is shown because what are the administrators doing to help those students?”

Taylor believes administrators can do more.

“We need to have something where administrators talk to students and ask them why they got into the fight. A lot of times it’s not because they’re just bad people. Oftentimes, it’s because there is something at home.”

Collins says students from Caddo Parish schools often reach out to her pleading for her to help them get through the school administrators. She also warns that school expulsions and suspensions can actually be dangerous for kids who are getting into trouble.

“The probability of them even coming back alive is very slim, and that’s the truth. So if you sent the child and you suspend them or expel them their parents still have to go to work, and if they are in these troubled neighborhoods and areas, and mom and dad have to work, where does that leave the child?”

The solution, they say, is mental health counseling in schools.

“A lot of students don’t have that, they don’t have that at home, and they don’t have friends who they can talk to about certain things. So, we need to have at least one person who is trained.”

Source: ArkLaTex News 

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