Community forum held to prevent violence in Harrisburg schools

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HARRISBURG - Dozens of parents and community leaders gathered Thursday to discuss ways to keep their schools and neighborhoods safe.

It's been two weeks since a large fight erupted on the streets of Harrisburg, and it's still fresh in the minds of these parents and school leaders who are working to make sure that violence does not rear its head in the city's schools.

“If something sparks out in the community, I promise you it generally starts with something that happened either at the at the park or on Facebook, at the mall and then it just brings itself to the building,” Keith Edmonds, assistant principal at Harrisburg High School, said.

Another topic addressed was bullying, and some parents say they are concerned that teachers and school staff are not taking allegations of bullying more seriously.

“It's disappointing for me that when my child comes home and tells me that kids are bothering her, and then I take that concern to administration, my daughter comes home and she tells me that the teacher is treating her like she's the one that's lying,” Shanita Lee, a parent, said.

Some urged their fellow parents to get more involved in their kids' schools and volunteer.

“The one reason you should think about is this is your child's future,” Curtis Hamilton, a parent, said. “That’s very important for all of us to think about that.”

But as much talk as there was, there is also a sense that all the chatter is not going to matter without results achieved by the whole community.

“What are you going to do after you leave here what difference are you going to make and that's what you need to ask yourself you know what difference, are we really going to get to the root causes are we just going to put Band-Aids all over them,” one woman said.