Parents call for change after recent fight at Monessen High School involves dozens of students

MONESSEN, Pa. — Parents are calling for changes after several fights inside Monessen High School.

The most recent fight occurred Monday afternoon inside the high school cafeteria.

“It was an all-out brawl,” said one parent.

Videos of this fight are circulating all over social media. And over the weekend, there was talk that there was going to be a fight.

“Several parents called to notify the school,” said another parent. “The police was also notified that there was going to be a big fight at school. The kids were on social media. Reposting that they were going to school to fight Monday morning. They were dressed a certain way. They came to school to fight.”

Channel 11′s Alyssa Raymond spoke with two moms whose kids were inside the cafeteria when the fight broke out. One of their daughters was hit from behind. They wanted to stay anonymous to prevent their kids from being targeted.

“It makes me angry. How are they supposed to concentrate or learn anything when they constantly feel like they have to watch their back?”

No kids were seriously hurt. Monessen police are interviewing students and reviewing videos. Chief David Yuhasz says the call came in as a fight between 30 students. Monessen’s Superintendent Dr. Robert Motte said it started with just a couple of students and grew.

Yuhasz says his officers have been dispatched to the school for fights four times in 13 school days. He says it’s taking away resources from other needs in the community. He’s been calling juvenile officers and other districts in the county to see what they’ve implemented to help with issues like the ones Monessen is currently experiencing.

Motte says they’re looking into solutions too, such as breaking up the grades into different lunches. Currently 9th through 12th graders eat together, which means about 150-170 students are in one place at a time.

“If that’s where they want to start, and they think that’s what might solve it. I mean go for it because, at this point, we’re nowhere. We need to start with some type of security. Real security.”

Yuhasz says the high school currently has one resource officer because a second one quit. He says his officers do regular patrols of the schools to familiarize themselves with the school and also to build relationships with the students.

“Just feel like the kids are too comfortable. They’re too comfortable. They had messages on SnapChat and social media all weekend saying they couldn’t wait until Monday morning until they got to school. I just think Monessen needs to do something and fast.”

Chief Yuhasz is meeting with Superintendent Motte on Tuesday evening. Then these recent incidents are expected to be discussed behind closed doors at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

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