TCHS leaders speak out on brutal fight

(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)
Tift County Schools Spokesperson, Stacey Beckham (Source: WALB)
Tift County Schools Spokesperson, Stacey Beckham (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)

TIFTON, GA (WALB) - Tift County High School leaders said the recent violence in the community is spilling into the schools, and they said it was the cause of Tuesday's violent brawl.

Tift County Schools Spokesperson, Stacey Beckham, said they need more support from local law enforcement to stop the violence.

Beckham said fights aren't a regular occurrence for the school.

In fact, she explained the number of fights was down compared to last year.

There were five versus the four fights during the first two months of this school year.

"We've got to address issues and crime in the community outside of our school and that should lead to having a better environment at our school," Beckham remarked.

Beckham said local law enforcement is in desperate need of more deputies.

"Our superintendent has reached out directly to our sheriff here in Tift County and he told us he is undermanned by 20 positions," she went on say.

Beckham said the fight stemmed from sort of argument outside of school over the weekend or Monday before spilling into the high school.

In the video, you see two male students fighting when the police officer grabs them, trying to stop the fight.

All three fall to the ground and students quickly surround them.

That fight started before school around 7:45 in the morning in the commons area.

Beckham explained the school was not on lockdown but staff did hold the bell to escort students out of the building which is why the school did not contact parents.

It was an isolated fight and didn't include other students standing nearby.

"The video that's circulating does look terrible, and it was a very violent instance but it was handled very quickly," Beckham explained.

The student resource officer responded in seconds, and he was seriously injured in the process.

"His job, he's sworn to protect and stop that type of thing," Beckham remarked.

She also called on the community to help with crimes.

"If you know of some issue that's in the community is going on, or you suspect this may become a bigger issue, let us know," she said.

It was originally reported on Wednesday that eight students were arrested, but only six were involved in the fight.

The other two students were picked up for another incident.

Those six students could be suspended, expelled or placed in alternative schools.

They're also facing charges of affray and battery.

Investigators would not release the officer's name but they said he was taken to the hospital.

He suffered serious arm and knee injuries and is now awaiting MRI results to determine the extent of his injuries.

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