Huntsville City School Board: Zero tolerance when it comes to threats and violence in schools

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - It's been another tough week at Grissom High School.

School officials confirm a fight broke out in the lunchroom Thursday, and parents were notified via email.

On Tuesday, one student struck an adult who was attempting to break up a fight, while another student shouted a threat involving a firearm.

“We are hurting our children when we are not teaching them self-control and respect for teachers," said School Board Member Michelle Watkins.

Superintendent Matt Akin told the gallery inside the Annie Mertz Center, "Enough is enough."

"We are not going to tolerate any student or anyone who creates threats at school," he warned.

Watkins says the issue is systemic, dating back to before former Superintendent Casey Wardynski.

“He had a climate of 'you do not do discipline,' because he did not want to report it to the state department. So now you have trained these teachers into thinking that if they implement discipline, they’ll lose their job," Watkins said.

Now she's demanding a change of how teachers discipline in the classroom.

“You put in every infraction in BLOOMs; I don’t care how many it is. Until we get discipline under control in HCS, we’re going to continue to have these problems. We're going to continue to have town halls with parents who are upset," she said.

Board President Elisa Ferrell's district includes Grissom High. She echoed Watkins' plea.

“If that means removing a student from the building, then we’re going to remove the student from the building," said Ferrell, in an interview with WHNT News 19.

Ferrell says her focus is on increasing transparency with parents.

"We’re making sure our administrators know their hands are not tied that they can say what they need to say and say it quickly, so we’re working to make it even faster," says Ferrell.

All board members agree that more has to be done to ensure more tough weeks aren't lurking ahead for Grissom High.

"I appreciate you demanding that we improve, because that’s what it takes," Superintendent Akin told the gallery.

“It starts right here. Everybody that’s represented here, this is where it starts. Every board member that sits here should be encouraging discipline," said Watkins.

Watkins also made a plea to all parents -- to make sure discipline is implemented at home and reinforced as a priority when their children are in the classroom.