Parents worry about frequent fights at Kokomo school
KOKOMO, Ind. – Fights are happening so often that students, especially teenage girls, are scared walking through a school’s halls.
Multiple students say it’s common to have a couple big fights every month at Taylor High School in Kokomo.
Now, one mom is so concerned about her daughter’s safety, she’s pulling her from the school.
“My friend said that she tried to get through the crowd, but it was impossible to get through them,” said 15-year-old Kalie Ree, remembering the attack at school last Friday.
She relives the incident in videos shared on social media by students who watched her get attacked from behind and slammed to the ground by another girl.
“That was the kid that was kicking me in the head,” she said while watching the video of the part of the fight where others joined in hurting her.
Ree’s mother Tina Myers said she received a call from school staff asking her to help calm her daughter down after the fight.
“I asked him if I needed to come to the school and he said not yet because they still weren’t sure what had transpired,” said Myers. “And he said I would be called by the school. And I went ahead and left anyway.”
The nurse had given Ree an ice pack, but quickly it became clear that might not be sufficient.
“She started getting ringing in her ears, nauseated and when she would stand up she was getting real lightheaded,” said Myers. “So we took her to the emergency room.”
There, an ER doctor diagnosed Kalie with a concussion. Days later, she says she’s still dizzy, has ringing in her ears and is constantly nauseous. She’s had to go back to the ER for severe symptoms since then.
Kalie believes her injuries are a symptom of a much bigger problem at the school.
“It’s common at Taylor,” said Ree. “So far there’s been four fights, including mine this year.”
Taylor students have been back in class for less than two months.
Other parents I spoke to say they’re also worried about the number of fights at Taylor.
For comparison, Eastern Hancock, Frankton, Madison-Grant and Winchester Community are all central Indiana high schools similar in size to Taylor. All had zero or one fight serious enough to report to law enforcement. Kalie’s mother sees that as proof fighting at Taylor is out of control.
“Is she really going to be able to go back to school and make it there and function?” asked Myers.
The problem, Ree said, is constantly having to watch her back for other girls.
“It’s rare that guy fights happen, said Ree. “I mean, there’s been one guy fight in three years there, that I’ve been there.”
Tina’s concerned staff aren’t much help. They seemingly didn’t hear the dozens of students screaming and cursing during the fight.
In response to FOX59’s inquiry into Friday’s incident, the school responded with this statement:
“We are aware of an incident involving two of our students in school on Friday and we are investigating the matter. We do not tolerate fighting within our schools and once our investigation is complete, we will punish the student responsible to the fullest extent. Our students’ safety is our top priority.”
When questioned further concerning the number of fights, what staff is doing to ensure student safety and other issues raised by parents, the school refused to respond for four days.
Myers said the lack of transparency only helped convince her she made the right decision to pull Ree.
Ree hopes the latest incident pushes the school to recognize they need to do more to prevent fights instead of reacting to them.
“When people are arguing in the hallways, there could be a crowd and they could just be arguing, they don’t do anything until someone throws a hit,” said Ree. “They just let them argue. They don’t do absolutely anything until someone gets physical.”