desoto isd

DeSoto ISD Cancels Class Districtwide Friday After Fights at Two Schools

District working with staff to consider better ways to handle student discipline

desoto isd
Tom Fox, The Dallas Morning News

Violence inside DeSoto ISD schools was caught on camera, not once, but twice in two days, leading the district to cancel classes in all schools Friday to allow staff time to consider better ways to handle disciplinary issues.

On Wednesday, videos shared online showed an incident in a classroom at DeSoto West Middle where a senior citizen substituting in a classroom was getting chairs picked up and thrown at him.

The substitute then picked up chairs and threw them back at the student.

"I feel for my son's safety sometimes, you never know when he goes to school what might happen that day," said Shemetris LaShun, parent of a student in the district. "There's been several incidents at the high school where I had to call him and make sure he was OK."

On Thursday, a fight broke out at DeSoto High School. NBC 5 obtained a video recorded in the cafeteria showing two students arguing before starting to slap, punch, and pull hair.

"It didn't put a good feeling in the pit of my stomach knowing my kids are in the building, at any given time something could happen to them and I didn't even know what was going on," said Bobby Williams, a parent of a DeSoto High School student.

DeSoto ISD wouldn't speak on camera about either incident but released a statement saying, in part, "These are isolated incidents not reflective of the quality, character, and culture of our students, staff, and school district."

Hours later the district came back and announced it would close Friday, and start spring break earlier, but staff would need to report to their schools as they begin to figure out better ways to handle disciplinary issues on campus and make "significant changes" to campus operations.

"How safe are the children?" asked Sherisse Montgomery, a parent of a student in the district. "When is it going to be to the point that fighting is no longer it and guns are going to start coming to the school. I just think we are an accident waiting to happen in DeSoto."

Most parents we spoke to said parents of the students involved need to demand better of their kids.

"That gentleman was old enough to be their great-grandfather and that's the real sad part about it. It's just no respect," said Tonya Renease, a DeSoto resident.

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