Parents, teachers worried over rash of violence at Albany High
A group of concerned parents and teachers expressed their worries about recent incidents at Albany High School they said were not fully resolved Monday, despite recent action by the district.
Parents and teachers have reached out to NewsChannel 13 since a student was accused of bringing a knife to school, which police said was involved in an altercation Dec. 4. However, many said they feared retaliation and did not feel comfortable speaking on camera.
Some parents kept their children home for a portion of last week, with a teacher who spoke on the condition of anonymity describing the classroom as “empty.”
On Sunday, an update from Principal Jodi Commerford said the school’s safety team met to review details of last week’s safety concerns and that community partners would be present at dismissal. The school had announced new safety measures Dec. 5 following a string of fights that day in school.
Commerford held assemblies on Friday and talked to students about the incidents. After school, a 14-year-old child was slashed in the face on Central Avenue, according to Albany Police. Sources close to the incident tell NewsChannel 13 the slashing was between students and is connected to recent violence at the school.
One parent who spoke to NewsChannel 13, Raanan Schwarzmer, said his freshman daughter stayed home part of the week last week. His son also graduated from Albany High several years ago.
“We wanted to make sure she was safe. There were still threats online, according to my daughter, through social media that there would still be or there were continued threats of shooting or stabbing violence,” said Schwarzmer.
He witnessed police and paramedics at the school last week. He felt like the school leadership was doing everything it could, but that it needed more resources to address the underlying issues outside the school walls.
“There’s always going to be something. When my son was in school, every so often there was something going on outside the school. Rarely was it inside the school. But it was never to the degree that we had seen this year. I would say the school is doing an OK job, but it’s not the school that has to fix the underlying issues that’s causing these problems,” he said, explaining that more mental health support and counselors would help, along with the funding to do so.
NewsChannel 13 reached out to a spokesperson for the City School District of Albany Monday before speaking to Schwarzmer. The district said the superintendent would be available to comment.
This is a developing story. NewsChannel 13 will keep you updated on-air and on WNYT.com as we learn more.