DEVELOPING STORY/UPDATES BELOW…
It’s bad enough when the kids duke it out on the schoolyard. It’s worse when the parents do it…in front of kids…at a Christmas program!
That’s apparently what happened last night at Oak Hill Elementary School in High Point. According to a story that led on FOX-8 last night, at least three adults tossed and tangled during the school’s Christmas program while children were on stage performing. And yes, there was video.
It’s pretty disturbing.
An excerpt from the FOX-8 story:
Children in the first through third grades had just completed about three-quarters of the program when a fight broke out among three parents in the audience, according to Guilford County Schools’ spokesman Chad Campbell.
Witnesses said the argument lasted about ten minutes.
“My daughter was on stage singing at the time when my sister-in-law realized they were arguing,” said Marseddez Lopez, who captured the argument on her camcorder. “We were gathered there to see our children perform, it’s not fair to them.”
Lopez said from what she saw, the fight involved two parents and another person she described as a school volunteer.
UPDATE: 12/19/07, 9:13AM: Supt. Terry Grier sent out an e-mail this morning to media on last night’s incident. Here it is, courtesy of News & Record’s Allen Johnson’s blog:
I spoke to the principal of Oak Hill Elementary School this morning. Sara Roberts informed me that three female parent, with a history of disliking each other, attended a school Holiday program last night. During the program they began shouting obscenities at each other. The incident escalated into a chair throwing, hair pulling, fight. Two other female parent (sic) tried to break up the fight and also became involved. At the same time, a small group of male parents began shouting vulgarities and obscenities. The police was called, but many of those involved left before they arrived.
Since it was a school activity, many parents had video cameras present and taped much of the fight. Someone sent a copy of their tape to Fox 8. The police is coming to the school this morning to interview staff present. No charges have been filed to date.
News & Record has a mid-morning story on its website…and they’re calling the incident stemming from a “neighborhood issue.”
Police were told that between 100 and 200 people were in the gym and that multiple parents were involved in a fight, Steele said.
Chad Campbell, a spokesman for Guilford County Schools, said Oak Hill’s PTA was holding a holiday program when three parents began fighting.
No one was injured, he said.
Campbell said the fight was the result of a “neighborhood issue.”
UPDATE, 12/19/07, 1:56PM: Here’s an update from Principal Sara Roberts from Oak Hill Elementary School, via GCS and Allen Johnson’s N&R blog:
On the evening of December 18, 2007, Oak Hill Elementary had a Holiday Program at 6:30 pm. At approximately 7:30, an argument between parents escalated to physical violence in the middle of the gym. Chairs were thrown. Obscenities were loudly exclaimed. Three mothers did physical punch each other and two other mothers attempted to break up the fight. The fighting continued for approximately 10 minutes in total including the yelling and the physical hitting.
According to witnesses, the argument started by a father who approached another student about pushing his daughter while on stage. The one parent (not of the student who pushed) told the father to not talk to a child about that but to take it up with the principal. At that point, two other parents (twin sisters) began yelling and shouting. I had to stop the program and remind everyone to be respectful to the children on stage. However, the yelling escalated further and thus the fight began.
The police were called to help by multiple members of the audience as well as a staff member who was directed to call by me. Once the police arrived, only a few people who were actually involved were questioned. However the twin sisters had left the school property by then. The police are investigating the incident and charges are pending. We received word that a parent did tape the incident however; she did not share that with me.You may have already seen the tape attached to Fox 8 website.
I am proceeding with a ban for each of the parents who were actually participating in the fight. I have also received word this morning that one of the parents may actually live in Davidson County. My social worker is investigating that at this time.
We have also received a call this morning from one non-English speaking parent who informed us that their youngest child (not of school age) was hit with a chair in the head. She did not take the child to the doctor and the child is fine. But the accident report is being filed any way.
This is the latest update on the situation. Thanks for your help.
Oak Hill Elementary
This one comment from “Hank” who wrote into Johnson speaks volumes of the “new normal” we suddenly find ourselves in:
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