Violent Incidents on the Rise at Montgomery School

There are more than 1400 students at Carver.
There are more than 1400 students at Carver.
Asst. Superintendent Lois Johnson
Asst. Superintendent Lois Johnson

A recent rash of violence at Montgomery's Carver High school has teachers and students on edge. But with so much security already in place, many are wondering if any more can be done.

The number of fights and assaults between Carver students has risen dramatically in recent weeks. One recent brawl involved more than 30 people.

Nearly 50 separate incidents have been reported at the school in the last three months.

Students say the violence reached an all-time high last week. "Every five minutes, there was a fight. They were back to back," said 12th grader Crystal Solomon.

Solomon remembers a rumor that put the entire school under lock-down. "The rumor was that they were going to shoot the building and the busses up," she said.

No shooting ever happened, but that's the kind of threat Carver's students face almost every day.

Ninth grader Richard Davis wishes he could turn the violence off like a switch. He says taking a class shouldn't mean taking a risk. "Sometimes I just wish I could skip school!" Davis said.

Montgomery County's Assistant Superintendent for Student and Community Services says the school's immense size is to blame for some of the problems. It has more than 1400 students.

"It's a large facility, if you haven't been in it," said Lois Johnson.

Security at the school is already tight. There are locked gates, new lights, hand-held metal detectors, three security guards, and two full-time Montgomery police officers. But apparently, that's not enough.

Johnson is trying to find a more permanent solution through meetings with key players.

"We have the work with the culture in the school," she explained. "We have to redevelop that by engaging the students, the administration, the faculty and the parents to change it long term."

Many of the fights at Carver stem from disagreements students have outside of school. Then they spill into the classroom. Recently, it seems there has been a rivalry going between students who live in the Smiley Court and Riverside neighborhoods.

That's why administrators are appealing to parents. They say more parental involvement at home may be the only way to reduce the violence. At the same time, they point to many positive aspects at the school, like rising test scores and a football team that's in the state championship.

Reporter: Mark Bullock