APOPKA, Fla. - 9 Investigates learned a mother accused of coming on school property to egg students into fighting could face charges.
The fight happened May 7, but it wasn’t until days later that police learned a parent was involved. Investigators say no one from the school notified them, and instead, a school resource officer found out from students.
Investigative reporter Karla Ray started looking into issues at the school after Apopka police had to use pepper spray on students last month.
In two of the videos posted to Snapchat, you can hear the voice of a mother of an Apopka High School student cheering her daughter on during a fight. At one point, you can hear the same voice telling an administrative dean to stay away from the two girls who were fighting.
“That's not appropriate. The adults and parents should have kids to go to school to learn, and not fight,” parent Deanna Howard said.
Deanna Howard admits she was arrested after a fight on the very same campus back in 2014. That fight involved other adults, and she says she was defending her older daughter, who has since graduated. Adjudication was withheld in that case. Now, years later, she is worried about her freshman daughter, as similar fights continue.
“Can you all please protect my child on campus? That's it. That's all I ask,” Howard said.
She shared video with 9 Investigates of a different fight. In that video, you can see a school faculty member trying to break up the brawl, without success.
It’s similar to the scene we saw last month, when Apopka police school resource officers had to use pepper spray to get teens to stop throwing punches.
“They don't want to make it appear to be a bad school, but with all this brawling and fighting going on, what will it take? Someone to be seriously hurt, before something is done about it?” Howard asked.
A district spokesperson sent the following statement:
"The safety and security of our students and staff is always a top priority. Apopka High School’s supervision plan was reviewed to assure that students are always supervised. Typically, school staff are able to stop a fight with a verbal command. If a situation escalates after verbal commands and student safety is in jeopardy, school staff may attempt to break up a fight.
"The fight in which the parent was involved took place one hour after school was dismissed. Although it did happen on property, it did not take place inside the campus where a visitor would’ve had to check-in through our visitor management system."
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