Arlington Public School officials express concern over rise in student violence and inappropriate behavior

Violence and inappropriate behavior is concerning parents and staff in one northern Virginia school district. Arlington Public Schools says they are seeing an increase in fights, violence, and inappropriate behavior with kids.

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During a recent school board meeting, an Arlington mother, Shayna Robertson, said students are being disrespectful. Her daughter goes here to Gunston Middle School and was attacked there.

"My daughter’s eye is completely messed up. She was jumped by two girls and two boys and nothing has been done," said Robertson.

Right now, there are no school resource officers (SRO) in Arlington Public Schools. Despite that, the school district says police respond and investigate each incident that happens.

READ MORE: Alexandria School Board to hold debate over use of School Resource Officers

Most recently, parents say kids have brought weapons to middle schools, and set trash cans on fire at Wakefield High School.

There are differing opinions on how to handle these incidents. Some parents want to see SRO’s on campus, while others don’t.

Symone Walker, who is an Arlington parent, says "I think it’s a misplaced perception that SRO’s would prevent what we’re seeing in schools, right. That’s kind of a short sided view of what the problem is. An SRO should not be relied upon to do the job that schools are failing to do. Our schools need to be meeting all the needs of our students."

RELATED: Virginia House passes bill to require school resource officers at all public schools

School officials tell Fox 5 the concerning behavior follows a national trend of students struggling to get re-acclimated to the classroom after experiencing increased stress and anxiety due to the pandemic. Parents believe the pandemic left schools unprepared as well.

"I think that schools were holy unprepared for the levels of trauma that they would see after two years of social isolation dealing with traumas and death due to covid-19 and financial devastations family may have experienced because of this," said Symone Walker.


School leaders add that social media is also playing a big role in this increased violence and inappropriate behavior.

Arlington Public Schools say they are focused on prioritizing mental health needs to address these challenges happening in schools.