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Wharton High School holds parent meeting to address school fights and increased police presence

Posted at 4:52 AM, Feb 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-20 05:24:43-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Wharton High School officials met with several hundred parents Monday evening to discuss the recent fights on campus and increased police presence at the school.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's office, 67 people have been arrested on campus since August. Most of those arrests stem from fights that have happened on school property, and videos posted on social media.

RELATED | 10 students arrested at Wharton High School in the past two days

The district hosted a sit down with parents to talk about what it has done to curb the violence on campus, and the increased police presence. School officials are also asking parents to get involved.

Wharton High School Principal sent the following message about the meeting:

"We will start with a presentation and will provide a process for parents to raise concerns or ask questions after the presentation. In addition, there will be an opportunity for parents to volunteer to be part of the teams that are working to creatively address concerns on our campus. Parents that sign up to help will be contacted for participation in future meetings to provide support and expertise for their specific topic of interest."

“Was it productive or was all talk," asked ABC Action News reporter Ryan Smith. "I feel like it was just all talk. I feel like they were just trying to keep us at bay," said parent Anne-Marie Cooper. 

The Cooper's now question if it's safe to send their freshman son to school at Wharton. 

“Everyday we are scared," said Cooper. "I know that at night it’s very hard to go to sleep waking up in the morning and wondering are they going to be ok going to school? Am I going to get that phone call?”

A stream of alarmed parents spoke to ABC Action News about their concerns, saying they need to see more action by school leaders to keep their children safe. 

“The reason why it has gotten out of control is because they’ve allowed it to get out of control," said parent Nubia Gomez. “Why is it that our kids have to pay the price for those selective few that are not making the sad choices? It’s unfair, it’s not right.” 

Wharton principal Brad Woods didn't have many specifics when we asked about future changes coming for the high school. He says two employees from district headquarters will offer support and advice moving forward. 

"What are some things that we’re doing with our procedures that we can maybe do better to alleviate some of the conflict to continue to help parents feel comfortable sending their child to school every single day," said Woods.