Earlier this month, 13 students were charged by Bartow County Campus Police for reported involvement in fights on school grounds.
Videos surfaced the week of February 7, portraying violent altercations between students. WBHF reached out to school officials the same day about the fights and was told the incidents were being investigated.
WBHF has obtained police reports from the day in question through an open records request, and these documents show that Bartow County Campus Police officers reported to three assault or battery incidents at Cass High School and Cass Middle School on Monday, February 7.
10 students between the ages of 14 and 16 are marked as ‘arrestees’ for their alleged involvement in a large fight in the CHS cafeteria. Principal Steve Revard reportedly called officers to the school at around 8:30 a.m. According to an unnamed witness, this fight was a result of threats exchanged over social media.
All students identified as participating in the altercation were charged with Affray and Disruption of Public School.
In a separate incident taking place at 2 p.m., two 14-year-olds were charged with Affray. Police reports indicate this fight occurred because the students believed school would be canceled.
The same day, a 13-year-old at Cass Middle School was suspended and charged for allegedly attacking another student by grabbing her hair while punching and stomping her head.
Some parents have raised concerns with the way these events were handled by the school, as students who said they were bystanders or trying to break up the cafeteria fight were suspended.
One listener told WBHF her son was hit by other students while trying to break up the fight, and that he was suspended for 10 days. She said her son told her someone had brought a weapon to school, and that he feared for his life. When she spoke to administration about this, she felt they weren’t listening.
“Nobody wants to listen to my side of the story, nobody wants to listen to my son’s side of the story,” she said. “I don’t think that that’s right.”
Various news outlets have speculated that these clashes are a reflection of rising mental health issues in children and teens. When asked if this was the case, and how these arrests would impact potential mental health issues, Bartow County Schools Communications Coordinator Alisha Evans directed WBHF back to the police reports.
Charges will be filed in juvenile court against the 13 students listed.