GROVEPORT, Ohio (WCMH) — A slew of violent incidents at Groveport Madison High School this year has law enforcement calling for changes.
The most recent happened Tuesday when a fight broke out involving dozens of students.
Groveport Police said the fight started with a verbal altercation on a field trip and then escalated to a physical fight when they got back to the school.
“When the school resource officer got there, there was a massive number of kids fighting,” said Josh Short, Groveport Police patrol lieutenant. Short said the school resource officer had to use pepper spray to break it up.
“In my memory, in the last five or six years, this is only the second time that chemical spray has been used and it’s a situation like this where there are so many kids fighting, they severely outnumber the staff that is trying to break it up,” Short said.
While requests for comment from the district were not returned as of Wednesday evening, it did announce a special school board meeting for Thursday at 7:30 p.m. with the express purpose of discussing student safety.
Groveport Police said many changes need to be made at Groveport Madison High School.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a city school, if it’s a suburban school like we have here, or a rural school, we don’t want these things happening anywhere, and the unfortunate thing is here at Groveport Madison, we have had three pretty big incidents in the last three or four weeks,” Short said.
At the first home football game in August, a non-Groveport Madison student fired gunshots outside the stadium, inducing panic among football fans.
Then within the last three weeks, there have been two separate incidents of students bringing a loaded gun inside school property.
“In both of those situations, there was an arrest made and there was a transport to a corrections facility with both of those,” Short said.
Some parents said they are considering homeschooling their children or sending them to another district because of the violence.
Short said this is the worst they’ve seen, but changes are coming.
“Between us, Madison Township Police, Madison Township Fire, we meet regularly with the district so we can talk about safety issues, safety concerns, and ways we can do things better,” he said. “As a matter of fact, we have a meeting tomorrow (Thursday) that had been scheduled months ago.”
Groveport police said they all have a great relationship, but all policies that will affect change will come from the school district.
Short said change will start with action from the district and law enforcement, but they also need parents’ help in tackling the violence.
“It all starts at home,” he said. “If the parents, the guardians are checking on what their kids are doing, they can help find safer, more appropriate ways to find out how their kids are dealing with these neighborhood problems that end up coming to the schools.”
Groveport police and school officials are currently going through video of Tuesday’s fight to determine each person’s involvement. Once the investigation is finished, police said the students could see consequences ranging from school discipline to assault or rioting charges.