Parents have safety concerns for Pell City High

PELL CITY, AL (WBRC) - Some parents of Pell City High School students say they're worried about safety at the school. A couple of weeks ago, a fight broke out the high school and later gained infamy on Facebook and Twitter.

School officials then told us it was an isolated incident and not nearly as big a deal as the social media posts made it out to be.

That's still their position, but at least one parent says there's more going on here.

Tamela Chaney was the only one standing before the school board Tuesday night, but she says she's speaking for several other parents concerned about a series of fights or incidents at school that dates back to last year, when Chaney says her 10th grade son was attacked while a substitute teacher was out of the classroom.

"He was choked to an unconscious state while he was in a classroom. And I had to rush him to the hospital and I just think there needs to be more input from parents, more volunteers," Chaney said.

Chaney says despite rumors, she doesn't think the problem is racial, but she does want to the school to step up its security with more cameras and more volunteers monitoring the halls. "Wanted to make them aware there are parents out there who are concerned and want them to take more concern over what's going on, the safety of our kids," Chaney said.

"I don't think there's any need to do that," said Pell City Superintendent Dr. Bobby Hathcock. "At some point, we'll have a fight up there, we may have them in our junior high. I go back to what I said---I think we probably have less fights at that school than any school that size in Alabama."

Dr. Hathcock says safety is priority one for the system, but doesn't see the latest fight as an example of a bigger trend. "Yeah, we had a fight. Then people start saying things that's hard to control. That there were weapons there, and none of that was true. The truth is in the 9 years I've been superintendent we've never confiscated a weapon at the high school---a weapon."

Hathcock says the system is constantly evaluating its security procedures to make sure they're up to date, but he doesn't plan on making any big changes to the high school's setup after this fight.

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