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'We are scared every day': Student fights and assaults on teachers trouble Florida schools amid pandemic

Brooke Baitinger and Scott Travis, South Florida Sun-Sentinel on

Published in News & Features

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — When students returned to school this year, they brought with them pent up energy from a tough time in near isolation during the pandemic.

Now, reports of fights, criminal batteries and fear of violence are becoming an unwelcome part of students’ full return to in-person education.

While the violence isn’t happening at every school, many are seeing the problems erupt on more South Florida campuses than in the past. There are reports of teachers, security staff and administrators being knocked to the ground. Footage of students fighting is often shared on TikTok and other social media.

Consider:

—At Coral Springs High, a video went viral on social media that showed a male student beating up a female student as a staff member tried to intervene. Their horrified classmates screamed from their seats with each blow to the student, and as her aggressor slammed her to the floor.

—At Monarch High in Coconut Creek, at least 10 incidents of battery have been reported since mid-September, with several students arrested.

 

—In Palm Beach County, there have been 68 reported incidents of battery since mid-October, with 29 of those cases resulting in an arrest, according to school police.

—Broward has reported 712 fights and 223 physical attacks from the start of school through late October.

—At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, the site of the 2018 mass shooting, a teacher reported in early November being attacked by a freshman student near the end of the school day.

“We are legitimately scared every day to go to work because we don’t know what’s going to happen today,” said a teacher at Coral Springs High, who declined to be named, citing fear of retaliation.

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