Less than two weeks after a massive, racially tinged brawl enveloped the Charlottesville High School (CHS) library, more violence has beset the troubled facility.
Reports from sources within CHS confirm that a series of fights took place today, with such ferocity that students were “sheltered in-place” as law enforcement attempted to quell multiple outbreaks. Unconfirmed eyewitness accounts place as many as nine Charlottesville Police Officers on-scene.
Following the melee, a planned fire drill was cancelled, and class schedules were altered in order to accommodate the disruption. Teachers were called to an emergency after school “debriefing” to discuss the school’s ongoing social dysfunction.
After the meeting, one teacher expressed perhaps, the sentiments of many, in a group email to CHS staff:
I just want to take a moment to thank everyone for engaging so honestly and purposefully in an extremely difficult discussion. I continue to believe that these incidents of conflict point to deeper issues in the community, including the Charlottesville community writ large, that we as a public school, must contend with. We may not create these issues, but we are at risk of aggravating them.
I also saw how many of us are feeling depleted and exhausted by attempting to teach in this environment and I am deeply concerned about the possibility of increased teacher burn-out as we only just begin the winter months — and I also think we need to model, for our students, valuing our mental health. This environment has certainly left me feeling depleted and physically unwell, and I will be out tomorrow to recover and rejuvenate so that I can return in healthy body and mind. That is what my students deserve.
I hope that we can all model this self-care, if we need it, to get ourselves to full health. But, I also hope that we teachers can find a way to come together regularly, to speak with a more unified voice in advocating for the working conditions that create a positive learning environment for our students. We know our school best and I know that we can help develop solutions together.
Notably, Charlottesville City Schools (CCS) dispensed with School Resource Officers in 2020, as an institutional virtue signal. Increased disorder has followed. And unlike neighboring Albemarle County Schools, which ultimately partially reversed a similar foolish decision, CCS has stubbornly retained their dangerous no-SRO policy.
With the recent resignation of Principal Rashaad Pitt — and the problem of continuing brutality — Charlottesville High School faces an uncertain immediate and long-term future.