Some students leave Job Corps program - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Some students leave Job Corps program

October 3, 2006

Albany -- Some parents are pulling their children out of the Turner Job Corps, after a night of violence on the campus.  

A fire was set in dorm and dozens of students were involved in fights. Turner Job Corps workers are downplaying it all, but at least three families say it's too dangerous for their children.    

Monday night, there were fights between students, even rock throwing at our news cameraat Turner Job Corps. It all started when fire was set to a mattress on the third floor of a dorm. The dorm was evacuated, and that's when the fighting started.

Police, fire and EMS were sent to the campus. APD's incident report describes it as quote "a large fight. Students were fighting everywhere and began to run everywhere."

Today Turner Job Corps officials admit there were fights, but not widespread.   Center Deputy Director Allen Twiggs said "Nobody was injured or harmed. No one had to be hospitalized, and there were no arrests made as a result of either the incident or the fights."

But Sonja Banks was outside the Job Corps fence Tuesday afternoon, waiting to get her two children after getting frantic phone calls from them last night.  

Banks said, "My kids called me last night, telling me a fight was going on. Kids were falling out, glass was breaking, windows. 'Would I come and get them?'"

Banks says her 18 and 20-year-old children are too scared to stay. "They were panicked, they were upset, they were crying. And it scared me."

Others are scared as well. Two other mothers tell us they are taking their children out of Turner because of what they called "violence and gangs."

But the deputy director Twiggs says students just overreacted.  "The perception may have been that it was more serious than it turned out to be."

All the students received counseling this morning, and returned to classes. An investigation is underway to find the students who were involved, but no expulsions so far.   "Not at this point, but we do expect that to happen," Twiggs said.

Turner Job Corps officials say they have not brought in extra security for tonight, because they do not expect a repeat of Monday's night violence.  

Firefighters say the fire in the dorm utility room was suspicious, and they are investigating the cause. A couch and mattress were damaged, but Center officals put the fire out before firefighters arrived.

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