ZACHARY, La. (BRPROUD) – As a student recovers from being stabbed, the Zachary School District is addressing safety.
Inside the Visual and Performing Arts Center, hundreds of parents and guardians attended a townhall meeting to hear if their children are really safe at school.
Zachary Community Schools Superintendent Scott Devillier told the audience, “we want to make sure our kids are safe and it’s all our responsibility.”
The district has seen an uptick in violence this year with multiple fights and the recent on-campus stabbing.
According to the district, during the current 2021-2022 school year, 19 students instigated or participated in fights. The number was four more than they saw in the 2019-2020 school year.
“Since 2017 we had 62 incidents in which my math, that’s maybe 12 incidents a year and we’ve had 13 arrests which is maybe 2 arrests a year,” said Zachary Police Chief David McDavid.
People who attended the meeting said they have faith in the district, but it seems as if they are not following through with its zero-tolerance policy.
“They definitely need to stay on top of that. These fights that are happening are a lot to deal with and it’s a lot to hear about especially when you have family, siblings and children that attend this school,” said Zachary High 2018 graduate Bria Hitchens
The questions come after a student was stabbed multiple times on campus outside the gym. The incident happened around the time a football game was taking place on campus. According to police, a fellow Zachary High student committed the crime.
The incident caused more concern for the Zachary High community and the district said, they are making an effort to be even more vigilant when it comes to these incidents.
“We want to make sure that during the day we are doing what we need, providing more resources officers, off duty officers here at the school,” said Devillier.
“More officers don’t always equal a safer environment,” said Hitchens.
McDavid said there are three school resource officers (SRO) on the campus throughout the day and confirms one started in the past months due to the increase in violence.
“They were there that night; they were on top of the incident when it happened, they were there. They made an arrest within one minute, able to help put a tourniquet on the young man that was stabbed and were here,” said McDavid.
As the safety concern grows the district said they will do their part, but it truly takes a village.
“On our end we have to do everything we can to prevent it, but it can’t be 100 percent proof that it won’t happen because kids make bad decisions. All people make bad decisions from time to time. Hopefully they’ll learn from it,” said Devillier.
According to school leaders, Zachary High has a total of 170 cameras on campus that are closely monitored.
In addition, the school has a discipline policy review committee and a gaggle in place. The gaggle is a tool the district uses to catch key words in emails in real time and are able to alert families.
The student accused of the crime is charged with Attempted Second Degree Murder.
The injured student is said to be in stable condition.