Schoolyard melee caught on cell phone video raises school safety concerns at Haines City High
10:48 PM, Feb 26, 2013
2:35 AM, Feb 27, 2013
HAINES CITY, Fla. - Its the sort of schoolyard scene -- cellphone video of a melee -- that has at least one Polk County mom concerned about her daughter's safety.
"Yes, definitely, they really need more security because the kids that go to that school they are some really terrible kids sometimes," said Rosemarie Phillips.
Her daughter, Tifa Cain says she was just trying to help protect her best friend Sabrina yesterday morning against some of those kids when she says they were both jumped by some underclassmen who were -- until yesterday, strangers.
"I seen 'em with eyes," said Tifa, seated on a sofa next to her best freind at her home in Poinciana. "I seen them around school, but we're not friends or nothing."
The videos of the fight have lit up screens all over this part of Polk County… even as the girls involved in the altercation were summarily suspended for five days. "The school is doing a good job handling the issue," -- according to Polk County's Senior Director for High Schools. Stephen White going on to allay fears over what he termed a "routine fight."
Tifa isn't so sure her life is going to be routine though.
"When we do go back to school, I know its going to be another commotion -- like someone's gonna come at me again," she said. "Because basically the girls do not like me and my best friend."
And that's because, they say -- despite the dress code here -- they look and dress nice… and get a lot of attention.
"It is jealousy, yeah," said Tifa. "Because I go through this every day basically."
Haines City Police staffs the lone school full-time school resource officer position here. Capt. Brian McNulty telling me that number has been sufficient up until now, and that there have been no issues to make him believe otherwise. Not even the posting of the videos online. Unfortunately, he says that sort of scene -- just seconds of a day -- ends up being emblematic in some people's minds… even when its simply an isolated incident that has been taken care of.