Students air frustration over lunchroom 'brawls'

Posted by Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Students at Robert E. Lee High School are worried about recent outbursts of violence in the lunchroom.

Some of them decided to air their problems, using a radio talk show as a conduit for their concerns.

Tuesday, three girls broadcast their frustrations on the 'Greg Budell Show,' discussing serious concerns about lunchtime fights.

Student body president Alexandra Haynes says the fights--which started about two weeks ago--are scaring fellow teens.

"They're afraid to be at my school. They're ashamed, actually they're ashamed to call themselves Robert E. Lee students," Haynes told Budell.

Dr. Joe Garner, the schools principal, doesn't deny what happened.   In fact, he says seats are assigned now and many of the students are sequestered in classrooms during lunchtime as a punishment.

That's not all.

"There were quite a few students suspended.  The suspensions range from 3 days for minor involvement to 5 days, and in some cases, there may be expulsion recommended," Garner said.

At the same time, the principal admits battling problems with 2,000 kids can be tricky.

"It's a lot of students, but it requires us to do our part," Garner said.

While administrators try to tackle the problem head on, students are demanding change.. Many hope to trade the brawls for books and get back to learning.

"Instead of worrying about their personal safety, they need to be worrying about, "Am I going to pass the test?  Will I get a boyfriend or a girlfriend?  Who's going to take me to prom?" Haynes said.

Students--and administrators--say they're also worried Lee and Jefferson Davis High School students are competing via text message to see which school can cause the biggest commotion.

©2010 WSFA. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.