Community Agencies Respond to Student Struggles at Lafayette Jeff

LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The students fighting in the Big Lots parking lot east of Jefferson High School is nothing new, but eight students – some from another school – arrested in two days made headlines this week last.

The problem of students fighting near Jefferson High School is not lost on some community leaders.

“One thing we’re trying to find out is the root cause of the fighting, so we can start to work through the issues,” said Les Huddle, superintendent of Lafayette Schools. “We – Lafayette School Corp. – do not want to tolerate fighting in our schools or in our community.”

That could mean working with parents to figure out what a student might be struggling with and coaching parents on how to help their child work through issues, Huddle said. It can also mean working with other agencies in the community to find out if, for example, students have had problems over the weekend, then advising those students on Monday to resolve the problems so they don’t escalate. not.

A group of various public agencies met on Wednesday specifically to address the fights at Jeff, which began the first week of school.

“We all recognize there is a problem and want to work collectively to resolve the issues,” Lafayette Police Lt. Justin Hartman said after Wednesday’s meeting. “We recognize the problem and we – Juvenile Probation, the District Attorney’s Office, Lafayette School Corp. and the Lafayette Police Department – are working together to resolve the issues.”

The trouble for the 2022-23 school year began on August 18 during an after-school fight between Jeff’s students. Four students – three girls and a boy – have been arrested, and one of those arrested is believed to have jumped on a police officer, putting the officer in a chokehold as the officer tried to break up the fight .

The next day, at Jeff’s first home football game, four teenage girls – some of whom were not Jeff’s students – fought in the Big Lots parking lot. As the scuffle unfolded, a person sped through the parking lot, hit a parked SUV, then abandoned the car and drove away.

“I expect there will be a lot of visible security,” Huddle said of Jeff’s future home football games.

Huddle said he wants students, parents and guests to feel safe and enjoy games and large extracurricular events, even in peripheral event areas like parking lots.

AFTER:4 Girls Arrested After Fight At Football Game With Lafayette Jeff

AFTER:4 Lafayette Jeff students arrested after fight near school

High school fights are not new events

Some have castigated the Journal & Courier’s reporting of the two fights and arrests on August 18 and 19, as if students arrested after fights near the school were not newsworthy because it is commonplace. A few reader comments on social media even invoked the “They did it too” defense, pointing the finger at other high schools, alleging unreported fights there.

Of course, every high school in the county and nation will likely face student fights this year.

So far, West Lafayette High School, for example, has seen two girls fight on Aug. 22, West Lafayette Police Lt. Jon Eager said. The girls, however, were not arrested.

As of Aug. 24, no fights had been reported at Harrison or McCutcheon high schools since the start of the school year, Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Deputy Terry Ruley said.

“We have received no complaints or service calls for this, and no arrests,” Ruley said.

LPD’s plan to resolve the fights in Jeff

Wednesday’s meeting was constructive, Hartman said, noting no one pointed fingers at other agencies or blamed themselves. They collectively discussed ways to improve the problem.

For the Lafayette Police role, they plan to work with businesses in the mall east of the high school. The hope is that employees of these businesses can notify the police if students become confrontational or combative, Hartman said.

Police also want to work with Jeff’s staff to notify police during games when they see potential problems developing.

Finally, Lafayette police will have additional patrols in areas around the high school during large events, Hartman said.

Contact Ron Wilkins at [email protected] Follow on Twitter: @RonWilkins2.

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