Parents in Kankakee speak out over concerns about school fights, violence

KANKAKEE, Ill. — Parents in Kankakee are worried their kids may not be safe at school. Some parents cited a rise in violence in the halls of Kankakee High School, where there have been several fights this week alone.

Some parents have said they just want a safe learning environment for their kids, but that violence at the school is completely out of control.

Some videos of the fights have popped up on social media. They show all-out brawls, often, one student gets jumped by several others.

One fight happened on Tuesday, and at least one student was injured.

“[He was] knocked to the ground and stomped by five or six individuals,” Chris Karraker, a parent, said. “He actually has a shoe-print on the side of his face.”

Karraker’s son almost got pulled into that fight. He’s been trying to get something done about the issue  for months.

“The cause is a lack of supervision and a lack of accountability,” Michele Crecy, a parent, said.

In the case of Crecy, it’s been years since one of her sons was left bloodied and unconscious.

“I understand that fights are going to happen. I understand that we’re dealing with teenagers, but right now it’s completely out of control,” she said.

The district’s suspension report shows many notations for Kankakee High School for fighting. According to the report, that led to more suspensions at Kankakee High School than at the area’s five other high schools combined. Some parents fear where it might end.

“Whose conscience is it going be on when somebody falls, gets knocked down, hits their head and they die?” Karraker said.

Parents gathered at the school for a meeting Thursday evening to address their concerns. Staff members said they have a plan, but some parents said they're keeping their children at home.

Sixty parents were at Thursday’s meeting to give some tough love to the administrators at the school. They understand teachers have a tough job, but they demanded that administrators come up with some solutions.

“My daughter kisses me good bye and I’m worrying all day, ‘Is she going to be alright at this school?’ And I shouldn’t have to go through that. You have to make this place safe,” one parent said.

Staff said they are also at their wit’s end.

“In my frustration, I said, ‘Why wouldn’t you guys just fight at the park or on the block?’ And the young man literally said to me, ‘Mr. Harris, anything can happen. I might get shot or something. I’d rather be here at school,’” George Harris, Kankakee High School’s principal, said.

Dr. Gevera Walters, the superintendent, said school officials are looking into what else they can do.

One suggestion at the meeting was that students should get expelled if they get into two fights at school.

As that meeting was going on, a fight broke out down the hall during a basketball game.