YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Representatives with the Youngstown Branch of the NAACP are speaking out a large number of fights in city schools.
Officials confirm there were 770 fights in the district last year alone. If you break it down, that’s an average of 85 fights each month.
They are calling it “unacceptable.”
“Physical fights are at a crisis level at Youngstown City Schools, just based off the numbers,” said Jimma McWilson, vice president of the NAACP.
Local leaders say the fighting affects everyone.
“You’ve got a district of about 5,000, and 85% of those kids are not involved, but they are impacted. They are intimidated by an environment that will allow someone to have two, three, four fights,” said McWilson.
The NAACP is sending out a list of recommendations to combat the issue, including using a color-coding system to identify repeat offenders and removing them from the normal classroom environment. The organization also recommended that parents participate in a home school community intervention program.
“There’s something that’s not going right with what you’re putting in place, maybe it’s implementation, maybe it’s the people who are doing it. Whatever it is, it needs to be corrected,” McWilson said.
The school district issued a statement, saying:
“While we recognize that scholars sometimes fight, it’s inaccurate to say that it’s tolerated by the school district. Fights are broken up when they occur and discipline is meted out accordingly.
Additionally, YCSD uses Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports to curb fighting or other negative behaviors as a way to solve problems. PBIS includes setting expectations for behavior, ensuring scholars understand those expectations, recognizing when scholars exhibit those positive behaviors and maintaining consistency.
Several of our schools were recognized by our region’s State Support Team for their PBIS programs.
While we acknowledge that the work is ongoing, we continue to focus efforts on improving the culture and climate of our schools.Youngstown City Schools
Youngstown Schools CEO Justin Jennings added that there needs to be a broader solution-oriented conversation that will help the community as a whole.