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UPDATE: Security presence still high after incidents at Norview High School

Posted at 9:06 PM, Oct 27, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-31 17:26:31-04

Norfolk, Va. - Many parents are worried for their kids' safety at Norview High School after recent fighting at the school.

Several students told NewsChannel 3 the fighting is part of ongoing tensions between Hispanic and African American students. Now parents and family members want answers about the fighting.

"We're here to take action and see what we can do to prevent anything further than this," said Joana Zavala-Gonzalez, whose brother goes to Norview.

The fights happened Friday when around 200 students were outside the school following a fire alarm. "We went outside and they started throwing milk everywhere. We were taking pictures and that's when a milk landed right on us and exploded," said Juan Zavala-Gonzalez, a student. The groups started arguing and then fighting.

A security guard tried to break up the fighting, but police say several students assaulted the guard. The sister of a girl arrested says her sister wasn't fighting. "My sister got hit by the security guard, so she turned around and hit her back," said Natasha Boston. "I feel like the security guard shouldn't have put her hands on her period."

Six more students were arrested this week in connection to the fights, bringing the total to eight.

Officials say they've arrested two 16-year-olds. One has been charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. The other has been charged with disorderly conduct, assault and battery and resisting arrest.

Other teens involved ranging from 14-17 have also been charged. They are facing disorderly conduct charges, pulling a fire alarm and a 15-year-old is facing an assault and battery charge.

On Thursday, a 17-year-old student was taken into custody and charged with assault and battery, disorderly conduct and threaten to bomb or burn after a separate incident.

Norfolk Public Schools released a statement earlier this week about the incident: 

In an effort to keep you informed, the City of Norfolk, Norfolk Public Schools, the Norfolk Police Department and Norfolk Fire-Rescue have partnered to deliver this message to our community. Since late last week, together we have worked to ensure that Norview High School operates smoothly and safely despite the actions of a few students to disrupt operations by pulling fire alarms and fighting. We will not tolerate actions that create an unsafe environment. Unfortunately, we are investigating a significant number of cases in which students and others are using social media, text messages and word of mouth to spread rumors and false information throughout the City.

We are writing to you today for the following reasons:

1. To emphasize that the City of Norfolk, Norfolk Public Schools, the Police Department and Norfolk Fire-Rescue continue to work closely together to ensure that all of our schools remain safe, secure environments for teaching and learning;

2. To remind students and families of the serious, immediate consequences for fighting, falsely pulling fire alarms and otherwise causing disruption in schools. Since the two arrests at Norview on Friday, six more students have been charged, two in connection with the fighting and four in connection with the false alarms;

3. To remind students to report questionable activity to school officials and/or the anonymous NPS Anti-Bullying Safe Schools hotline, (757) 628-1171 or safeschools@npsk12.com; and

4. To ask parents’ cooperation in monitoring children’s social media and texting activities so that we can stop the spread of rumors and inaccurate, fear-inducing information. Norfolk students who falsely pull fire alarms will face serious school disciplinary action, and are subject to being charged with Class 1 misdemeanors under city ordinances regarding maliciously activating fire alarms in public buildings (Sec. 17.1-25.1 and Sec. 29-7).

School administrators will also investigate and take appropriate disciplinary actions against any students who attempt to cause disruptions or worse by spreading false and inflammatory information verbally or via social media and text messages. Norfolk Police are providing added presence at Norfolk high schools this week, working with NPS security officers to ensure that we are proactive, along with swiftly enforcing necessary consequences.

In partnership with the Norfolk Police Department and Norfolk Fire-Rescue, Norview High School administrators are continuing to investigate all reports and concerns, and students and parents are asked to properly report information rather than resorting to social media or texting. Any necessary updates will be provided on the school’s Web site. The City of Norfolk, Norfolk Public Schools, the Norfolk Police Department, and Norfolk Fire-Rescue appreciate the vast majority of students and families who support our efforts for safe, secure, positive learning environments for children. Norview High School is an excellent school with multiple national awards for academic achievement and student leadership. We will stand together as a community to ensure the safety and security of all students and staff.

Norview High School student accused of assault, threatening to bomb or burn school

Two students in custody after fights at Norview High School