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Rise In School Fights Another Pandemic Casualty

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – On Monday, Clive Barnes got a frantic call from his wife. She told him go to Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital immediately.  It is where his 16-year-old son ended up after a rough day at school.

Barnes showed CBS4 a disturbing video of his son being attacked at Whiddon Rogers Education Center.

In the video, you see his son jumped from behind and tackled to the ground. He is beaten repeatedly.

"I saw the video and could not hold back my tears," said Barnes."He never complained about anyone bothering him.  The kid came up and dropped him on his head."

The fight isn't isolated. CBS4 obtained video of frequent fights at New River Middle school in Fort Lauderdale and a scuffle at a middle school in Miami Gardens.

"Fights have always been there but it's more of a problem during the pandemic," said Broward School Board Chair Dr. Rosalind Osgood.

Dr. Osgood said so many students are dealing with death, the aftershocks of lockdowns and isolation during the past 19 months that it's led to rage and aggression.

She is an advocate of more resources for mental health services.

Already the district has allocated money for counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists to work with children experiencing the effects of the pandemic.

She says parents need to do a better job listening to students who are struggling with so many emotions navigating life during the age of COVID.

Broward parents who want to learn more about the picture of fighting and bullying can look on the Broward County Public Schools website. Under the district code of conduct, there is a breakdown of the total number of violent incidents and an individual log for every school in the district.

As for Barnes, he wants the student who attacked his son to be held accountable.

"I need the authorities involved. If they had a quarrel, it should never have gotten to that point," he said.

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