New Bedford High School Fights Are Taken ‘Seriously’, Officials Say
NEW BEDFORD — An unusually high number of fights have broken out at New Bedford High School in the first few weeks back at school — and while parents are concerned, officials say safety is of the "utmost importance."
One high school parent, who wished to remain anonymous, told WBSM that the fights are "a daily occurrence."
The person said their daughter has described the incidents as "vicious" and "horrific."
According to the family, in at least one recent fight, a young woman involved sought medical attention from ambulance workers.
A video uploaded to social media that has since been deleted appeared to corroborate this account, showing a teen girl being treated by emergency medical workers, although WBSM was not able to confirm any details.
The person also stated that in one instance their daughter was caught up in a crowd around a fight that blocked the school's exit, impeding her from getting outside for 20 minutes.
"I’m scared everyday and feel helpless," the parent said. "But there isn’t [anything] I could do, because there is no other high school she can attend, so other parents like me are stuck."
"I could only imagine how these students feel going to school everyday," the person added.
Another parent whose son is a senior said on condition of anonymity that she is concerned about the fighting, and is relieved her son will be leaving next year.
"Don’t get me wrong there’s always fights in school," she noted, "but the amount on a daily basis is crazy!"
"To have a fight so severe EMT’s have to come to the school is unsettling," she added.
The parent also noted that there hasn't been any communication thus far from school officials about the fighting.
New Bedford High School Headmaster Bernadette Coelho has yet to respond to a request for comment, but a spokesperson for the district stated that the incidents are being taken seriously.
"The safety of all our students and staffs is of the utmost importance," said New Bedford Public Schools' Community and Public Affairs Manager Arthur Motta. "It is unfortunate that there has been a small number of challenges as students have transitioned back into school after many were out for almost a full year."
Motta added that "any incident posing harm to others is too many."
"Any display of bad behavior is taken seriously, and the appropriate consequences are meted out," he said. "Staff are working to identify and provide supports to students who are having challenges acclimating back to the in-person school environment. These include meeting with parents, counselors, and partnering with outside agencies to ensure that all students are making the best choices and understand the impact that their behavior has on others."
Meanwhile the New Bedford Police School Resource Officers at the high school are aware of the incidents, according to police spokesperson Lt. Scott Carola.
"We will be reviewing the incidents and requesting that charges be brought forward where appropriate," Carola stated, adding that both the police department and the school department are taking the incidents "very seriously."
Because the reports involve juveniles, no further information on the incidents was released.
The school previously made headlines in 2014 after a student was expelled and charged for throwing a chair at a teacher who had confiscated his phone.