Benton Harbor community voice frustrations over school violence

NOW: Benton Harbor community voice frustrations over school violence

BENTON HARBOR, Ind. — Quite a few parents, alumni and community members voiced frustrations and concerns as violence continue to happen the halls of some Benton Harbor Schools.

“Some child is going to get seriously hurt or there’s going to be a killing and it’s going to be a worse reflection on Benton Harbor,” said one parent.

Thursday’s discussion went down at a planned safety coalition community forum at the McCoy’s Memorial Church.

But many community members are demanding the district’s leadership is held accountable.

“We need to get real,” said one community member.

Attendees at the meeting want the district to “keep it real” about the challenges it faces today.

And part of those challenges includes numbers Superintendent Shelly Walker shared during the evening.

This school year alone, 230 students were reportedly involved in fights.

The majority of those incidents happened at Benton Harbor High School and MLK Steam!

That’s 11 percent of the population.

If that sounds like a lot, parents and administrators say just one percent is too much.

“We can come, and we can talk until we’re blue in the face but at the end of the day, they make the decision,” said parent Apollonia Ellis.

Ellis speaks out often whether at a school board meeting or a community meeting like Thursday’s.

“How are we going to expect the kids to trust us when we can’t even be integral ourselves?” Ellis asked district representatives during the forum.

Looking to regain this community’s trust, Superintendent shelly walker offered answers, like to questions about a $2 million gang prevention grant.

But many would also like solutions to how the district moves forward.

The district is also planning on rolling out workshops for parents through the Riverwood Center.

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