Parents outraged after viral video shows string of suburban HS brawls

Is it a high school, or a fight club? That’s the question some south suburban parents are asking after a string of brawls are captured on video.

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Is it a high school, or a fight club? That’s the question some south suburban parents are asking after a string of brawls are captured on video.

The video was taken during altercations inside Crete Monee High School. FOX 32's Dane Placko reports parents are upset and demanding the district take control of the problem.

It was a chaotic scene recently in a large common area called "The Circle" at Crete Monee High School, and there’s other video of a fight between two girls last week.

Some parents and students say it's simply out of control.

FOX 32: What's your reaction when you see those videos?

"It makes me sick to my stomach to know my child is in that school and that his life could be in danger,” said parent Roberta Abatzis.

Abatzis is one of several parents FOX 32 talked to who say administrators in district 201-U aren't doing enough to crack down on the problem.

Recently, one student edited together a series of fights that took place in the school and put it to music. The video quickly went viral and has sparked outrage on community message boards.

There's more than two, three a day,” Abatzis said.

FOX 32: Two or three fights a day?

"A day. I hear that sometimes on a good day seven,” she added.

"What we see on video you can see in any school,” said Nate Cunningham Jr.

District Superintendent Cunningham Jr. says while there have been fights, the scope of the problem is overblown partly because of social media, and partly because students make up a tiny percentage of the student body.

Cunningham Jr. says in the past, students would quickly be suspended or expelled for fighting. But the district is following a new state law that goes into effect this September which discourages suspension for fights.

"In the new day when we're expected to educate 100-percent of our children, it's our job to keep them all there and do the best job we can with them. We are only going to exclude them when there are extreme behaviors,” Cunningham Jr. said.

"I think the kids are running the school,” another parent said.

This parent, who did not want to be identified, says she's frustrated because there are so many good kids at the school who just want an education and not a fight.

"I don't think they're doing these kids any favors by allowing this kind of behavior. And I think the administration needs to get a grip on this and get things under control,” she added.

The parents FOX 32 talked to say teachers are also afraid for their safety, but the superintendent insists there is enough security to provide a safe environment and that fighting represents only ten percent of the student infractions at the school.

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