School official talks about fights

November 7, 2018

KANKAKEE — The Kankakee School District superintendent said Monday the high school needs to make sure adults are supervising areas on the campus where there are groups of students.

During a community meeting, Superintendent Genevra Walters said an adult should have been around last week when two freshman girls got into a fight near buses after school. Captured on video, about 50 students witnessed the conflict, which lasted a minute.

Walters said she would talk with Principal George Harris, who didn’t attend the meeting, suggesting the school increase supervision and “get ahead of those issues.”

At the meeting, a few parents said they were concerned that regular fights take place on the campus.

“We’re getting to a point where we were last year. That’s scary,” parent Michele Crecy said.

The day after last week’s fight, Walters said she wasn’t aware of it, adding that the high school was supposed to tell the central office when altercations result in police and ambulance response. Both were called after last week’s fight.

When such incidents happen, Walters said the high school calls her secretary, who then contacts school board members. She said she is not always in the office to be reached about fights.

Many fights, she said, are caused by students’ statements on social media. Her suggestion for parents was to get their children off social media or block offenders.

A student at the meeting asked what Walters really thought about safety at the schools.

“I think the junior high and the high school need help. I’ve been having discussions about that,” Walters said.

The student said the ongoing construction project at Kankakee High has “thrown off” everyone.

“A lot of kids have freedom in places that you think are covered. The cafeteria isn’t covered. The area around the back gym isn’t,” the student said.

Walters was considering having former Kankakee High Principal Al Brown develop a plan for dealing with student disciplinary issues.

The school district, she said, was working with the city to apply for a violence prevention grant that could pay for things such as cameras and lights at the schools.

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