Parents concerned after fights continue to break out at Champaign high schools

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – Angela Wilson grew up in Champaign and went to high school here. She said so much has changed and escalated since she was in school.

Now, she has 2 sons at Central High School, and 1 is a freshman. She said she has her phone by her side all day long, just in case another fight breaks out, and he needs her.

Parents and community members have taken to social media with concerns after they have said fights continue to break out at Central and Centennial. Wilson is one of those parents.

“You know the kids have just been seeing fights, and that’s something they’re not used to,” she said.

The Champaign Police Department said they have been called to Centennial High School twice for fights. One was after school and one during school. Police said one of the students used pepper spray in the fight in school.

The district said because of ongoing violence in the community, they are experiencing isolated incidents, but wouldn’t say how many.

Wilson said it’s not a good environment for students or staff.

“When I explained to my kid, what would you do in this situation? He was kind of clueless, and it left me feeling helpless too. What are we going to do to make them feel protected, because if they’re worried about what’s going on around them, hearing things in the hallways, and being terrified, they’re not learning,” Wilson said.

Wilson said she feels anxious sending her kids to school, and she doesn’t have an answer to end the violence, but hopes a conversation will start and something can be done.

“I think if people really think about what’s happening here, the end goal is the same. We all want our children safe. So, how can we resolve this,” she said.

The district said they are teaching students social-emotional learning support and trauma-informed practices because of the violence. They also said they are adding more security officers on campuses to help. They did not confirm how many officers or which schools.

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