LAWRENCE (CBS) - Cell phone video shows chaos in the cafeteria and hallways of Lawrence High School, where tension around student fights has reached a fever pitch. "Sometimes I'm scared about the fighting," said senior Alison Lugo. "People around me are fighting, the teachers getting hurt by students," he said.
"A lot of our students are returning to in-person learning after being at home for over a year-and-a-half. That in itself has created a lot of anxiety," said Mayor Kendrys Vasquez, who called a news conference Wednesday. He said the City is working to extend more mental health services to students.
Cell phone video of skirmishes has repeatedly surfaced since school began. Police Chief Roy Vasque says about a dozen students have been summoned to court. Two were arrested Tuesday, and a teacher who tried to intervene was injured. "These aren't your normal individuals that you would think would be in trouble. Those particular arrests happen to be females," said Vasque.
"A lot of online action was happening, so everybody's seeing each other now, so they're face-to-face," said sophomore Serenity Rodriguez. "You can't do anything to stop it 'cause you know, you don't want problems yourself either," she said.
"It's…dangerous," said mom Annie Garcia, as she waited for her sophomore daughter outside school. She said she has stopped letting the girl walk. "I pick her up and let her wait for me instead of her walking home."
School officials sent a letter home to parents outlining steps to keep students from gathering in big crowds. The lunch schedule is being reworked, students have been eating in their classrooms, dismissal times have been staggered, and there's hope that anxiety will ease over time.
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