A surge in violence has become a major issue at a suburban middle school, with a teacher getting knocked unconscious during a brawl that was caught on cellphone video.
Haven Middle School in Evanston is the location of the growing trend of violence, and teacher Amber Evey Schmitt was caught in the middle of a recent fight.
“Please hear me when I say: I did not put myself between students to break up this fight,” she said.
A cellphone video shows multiple students fighting, and then ultimately shows one of the students colliding with Schmitt, sending her sprawling to the ground.
“I simply heard a commotion coming from just outside my classroom, and I made a choice to quickly step out into the hallway to assess the situation and see if there’s something I could do to help,” she said.
Schmitt spoke at a board meeting Monday night about the incident, which sent her to an area hospital.
“I do not believe this student had any intention of hurting me,” she said. “Unfortunately, I’m not surprised that this incident happened. I’m only surprised it didn’t happen sooner.”
Parents with children at the school say they are growing more concerned over the increasing number of fights occurring at Haven, and say that too little is being done.
“We’ve heard so many words from the administration, but we don’t see a lot of action,” parent Kate Robinson said.
The school district released a statement to NBC 5, saying that it has put a “number of additional safety and support measures” into place.
“With continued collaboration and commitment, we are confident these efforts will have a positive impact and will create a stronger Haven community,” the district said.
Even still, many parents say the proposed steps haven’t gone far enough to address their concerns.
“If you don’t have respect in the building, you can’t control the building,” Marlon Millner said. “I mean, literally what I’m hearing is kids don’t respect the principal and the senior staff.”