Parents express safety concerns after several school brawls in Delaware County

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Friday, January 27, 2023
Parents express safety concerns after school brawls in Delco
A second fight happened shortly after the first. Cell phone video showed a violent hallway brawl.

BOOTHWYN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Parents are expressing safety concerns after recent fights at Chichester High School in Delaware County.

The district is calling these isolated incidents. Officials say four students were arrested and are now facing possible expulsion. One of them is facing charges.

The first fight happened outside just before school started on Tuesday. School leaders say staff intervened within 30 seconds.

A second fight happened shortly after the first. Cellphone video showed a violent hallway brawl.

Four teenage brothers who just transferred to Chichester on Monday from Philadelphia reportedly jumped a student while staff scrambled to break it up.

"Unfortunately it was quite an aggressive event. Our staff got involved and a few of them had some bumps and bruises," said Dr. Jeremy Curtis, the assistant to the superintendent for student services.

The video shows one teacher being pushed. Another teacher, we're told, was punched in the face, fell, hit their head and was taken to the hospital as a precaution. The teacher returned to work the same day.

Zaje Richardson is one of the several parents who contacted Action News to express concerns about safety.

"There is a constant taunting by the young men. The kids are forced to self-moderate the situation and it always ends up like this," Richardson said.

She says her son didn't feel safe returning to school Wednesday after hearing that one of the students involved in the fight allegedly made a threat against the school.

"We found no evidence that an actual threat to come back and shoot up the school was ever made," said Curtis.

The district admits there has been an uptick in physical altercations since the return of in-person learning. It's why they say they added four security officers this year, in addition to their school resource officer.

"We are addressing it, we talk about it, we have programs in place. We're in the buildings. Any sort of bullying incident that comes in is immediately investigated," said Curtis.

The district says they've also hired two additional social workers and a mental health therapist, and are looking to implement an updated anti-bullying policy soon.

Police were patrolling the campus all week long as an added precaution.