by: Carl Willis Updated:
ATLANTA - Parents at a southwest Atlanta middle school fear schoolyard fights are getting out of control.
"Every day they come home and tell me they're on lockdown," Andrea Powe said about her twin daughters. "It's prohibiting them from learning."
Davida Reed lives next to the school. She said some of the scuffles have even spilled over into her front yard.
"Students just walk up and attack one another, whether it is single fights, whether it is in a group, and with no regard for adults coming," Reed said.
An Atlanta Public Schools spokesman told Willis the school has taken several steps to ensure campus safety, including a more visible police presence nearly every day.
The efforts include volunteers from the community assisting with morning and afternoon arrival and dismissal of students. Members of the community and APD have also joined together to keep watch in the neighborhoods surrounding the school. Hallways and other areas of the school are closely monitored throughout the day.
Takeisha Leaks told Willis she saw seven police cars, two men on motorcycles and two paddy wagons at the school.
"It's a good thing and a bad thing," Powe said. "I don't want my kids to feel like they're going to school in jail. I want them to feel like they're going to school to get an education."
West End resident Kay Wallace said neighborhood representatives were in a meeting with Atlanta police officers and APS security when fights erupted last week.
"At that time, quite a few of them were called away because of the altercations between students," said Wallace. "They found out that a lot of students from the high school were coming over and causing some of the incidents that were happening."
Some parents said consolidation of schools and the addition of students from other neighborhoods may be fueling the tension.
"It's just sad that violence is running rampant like this," said Reed. “As the temperature rises so does adrenaline and emotions."
"It shouldn't get to the point where every day there's an incident," said Powe. "You have to root to the problem; you need to solve the problem."
Police said the concern is the end of the school year. Officers said that's a time when schoolyard fights increase.