Bartow County high school becomes center of latest string of metro Atlanta school violence

BARTOW COUNTY, Ga. — Reports of fighting in metro Atlanta schools are becoming so common that some parents are letting their kids skip school.

Channel 2′s Michele Newell spoke with parents of students at Cass High School in Bartow County where several fights have been recorded and posted to social media over the last few days.

“The young lady was getting like stomped into the desk on the ground. My daughter’s only three feet away from this when it’s happening,” Jennifer Caamal described.

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A student at the school also started a fire in the bathroom. School officials say the fire wasn’t connected to the fights.

Cass High School Principal Steve Revard released a statement on Thursday that reads, in part,

There are videos circulating that highlight students who are willingly engaged in physical altercations and destruction of property. These images and this type of behavior do not accurately reflect our school or community and will not be tolerated.

—  Cass High School Principal Steve Revard

These fights are just the latest in a string of violence at schools in metro Atlanta that Channel 2 Action News has reported on in the last several months.

Last month, students were stabbed at a school in south Fulton County.

Earlier this month, students were pepper sprayed after a large fight broke out in DeKalb County.

In Douglas County, a student-run Instagram account, which has since been removed, showed kids fighting.

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One organization says they believe all of this violence in schools could be tied to a decrease in mental health.

“In 2020 is when we started to see this violence in schools uptick,” Rick Birt of Students Against Destructive Decisions said. “The CDC now tells us that 1 in 4 high school students are struggling with a diagnosable mental health condition.”

Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) created a free mental health and wellness tool kit for students and parents that is available on its website.

Birt says parents should pay attention to changes in their child’s behavior.

“When you start to notice themes of changes in behavior over days and weeks where they are more irritable, they are less social, more social, withdrawn,” he explained, “remove the stigma of what mental health is and have frank conversations about what is that feeling of anxiousness.”

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Cass High School will be launching a mental health campaign this fall.