HEPHZIBAH, Ga. (WJBF) – The community responded across social media and right here on NewsChannel 6 to a dangerous school fight caught on camera last week.
The Richmond County School superintendent’s office released a statement, but that’s it. So, we spoke with parents about whether just a statement is enough to really make a change.
Barbara Soderberg is a parent with a student at Hephzibah Middle School. She spoke with us about the incident.
“Shoes shouldn’t be important. Shoes shouldn’t be the reason you’re going to spend time in jail and not get into college.”
A fight over shoes was shown on a video taken at Hephzibah Comprehensive High School. That video, recorded on a cell phone, leaft some parents wondering how and why in the world a student got jumped on and it all got caught on video.
Bill Compton, who has a step-daughter at the school, said he knows students have behavior problems.
“Students cuss and scream and holler and nobody can do anything to them.”
“I don’t know. I don’t understand. All we can do is pray,” Soderberg said.
Superintendent Angela Pringle’s office issued this statement after the first student was arrested.
“The Richmond County School System is aware of a video of an incident that occurred Friday, at Hephzibah High School, which has been circulated on Facebook. Incidents of this nature are taken very seriously by the Richmond County School System and will not be tolerated. Currently, one student has been arrested and three students have been suspended pending tribunal. Warrants are being obtained for the arrest of the three suspended students.”
Some parents, however, said responding on paper isn’t enough. And until the school system steps up and takes care of the problem, behavior like the kind shown on the video is going to happen more often.
“The people in the main office for the school system are worried about their job and they know if they start kicking students out they’re going to lose money from the government because their attendance is going to go down,” Compton explained.
Four arrests were made for the teenage boy body slammed for his 100 dollar shoes.
Javarious Bates, 18, was charged with Misdemeanor Battery and Felony Criminal Attempt Robbery by Force. Michael Williams, 17, was charged with Misdemeanor Battery and Felony Criminal Attempt Robbery by Force. Quantavious Russ, 18, was last charged with Disorderly Conduct and doesn’t seem to be in the CBWDC facility at this time.
The fourth arrest was a juvenile.
Parents themselves are up in the air about whether they are to blame.
“99 percent of the time it is parents. They don’t spend no time with their kids. Kids stay on their little computer things,” Compton said.
“I can’t say the parents because the kids are going to do what they want to do,” said Soderberg.
I also spoke with several parents off camera and they stressed Hephzibah High School isn’t all bad, but there is a serious drug and gang problem at the school that needs to be addressed.