KANKAKEE — Kankakee School Superintendent Generva Walters said the district is signing complaints with the Kankakee police against the students they identified as directly involved in several fights at Kankakee High School on Tuesday.
Walters said 16 male students were identified through reports and reviewing video from the school’s surveillance camera, but five of those were found to be reacting to the events and were not considered aggressors.
During a Facebook Live chat on Wednesday, Nov. 6, Walters said school administrators would sign police complaints against three of the male students, who are believed to have possibly started the incident.
Six students were told not to return to school on Wednesday, Walters said. Two of them were victims who were identified in a picture and through reports from students.
As a precaution Wednesday, Kankakee Police Chief Frank Kosman and nine officers were stationed in the building as the school day began.
Police from multiple local agencies responded to the incident that occurred at approximately 2:20 p.m. Tuesday as students were being dismissed for the day.
Walters was at the school at the time. She said administrators had difficulty figuring out what was going on and who was involved. A large group of students ran out of the building to see what was taking place, making for a chaotic scene.
She said that was the reason for the large police presence.
“Parents should talk to their children about running toward a fight,” Walters said. “They have no way of knowing what they are running toward. It also jeopardizes the police officers and school personnel trying to figure out what is taking place.”
Walters said the community needs to inform police officers or administrators “when there is a potential problem in the school. The administration at the high school will take every report seriously.”
“I do believe we need to be united and come together to resolve issues,” Walters said. “Our community leaders need to meet with the community to discuss all the possible options. We cannot be divided. There’s too much at stake.”
The second semester of the 2018-19 school years at Kankakee saw several fights take place in the school. In December 2018, 21 high school students were suspended for fights in the school’s cafeteria.
The 2019-20 school year began with a new principal, Shari Demitrowicz. She implemented several mandates used to enforce procedures already in place to curb the occurences.
This school year, students are not allowed to use their cellphones in between classes. This was done to reduce the chance of them checking social media, where students’ comments can trigger fights.