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Parents demand cellphone policy changes after school fight videos go viral

Posted at 7:46 PM, Apr 26, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-27 06:54:22-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. – Hundreds of parents met with Henrico School and community leaders Sunday to address the massive brawl that broke out at Varina High School prompting a lockdown last week. While school officials did not make any hard promises, they did listen to suggestions from parents after video of a massive fight was widely circulated online.

Henrico School Board members, the Superintendent, Board of Supervisors and even the Commonwealth’s Attorney were on hand to discuss what can be done to prevent fights. But the focus of the meeting quickly turned to parents needing to have one-on-one conversations with their kids about the violence.

However, there was consensus among parents that the School Board should reconsider the district's cellphone policy. Several parents at the meeting said that students' ability to easily capture video of the altercations on their cellphones not only leads to fights, but helps the videos go viral.

“I want the phones gone, I think they shouldn't be allowed to use their phones,” parent Cherri Somerville said. “What happened to lockers? Lock their phones up and you cannot get them till the end of school.”

Currently, Henrico students can use their cellphones outside classrooms. Parents admitted that they have a role to play in encouraging the recording of fights since they shared videos of the brawl as well as news stories online. Officials also jotted down ideas about how to improve Varina High School’s image.

It remained unclear if any of the feedback from the meeting will result in any immediate changes, but parents told school leaders that they are fed up with fights at the school.