MOULTRIE -- The parents of teen-agers scrapping at Colquitt County High School this week said they went to the administration and the police for help with the escalating problem but didn't get much.
CCHS Principal Bob Jones earlier stated the school might have been able to intercept violence had the parents informed them of the seriousness of the conflict. A month ago, the same girls were summoned before an assistant principal regarding trouble between two sets of four, school officials and parents said. The meeting resulted in the police taking away one girl and the rest sent to detention, parents said.
Jones met with a parent last week but she didn't indicate an immediate threat and had not gone back to talk with the assistant principal, he said.
"Had the parents been real concerned about it then, all they had to do was let us know," he said.
The parents say they did let the high school know.
Now, one juvenile now faces three aggravated assault charges for hitting three teachers with a chair during the fray, Moultrie Police Department Chief Investigator Roger Lindsay said. The remaining -- a 17-year-old charged as an adult and six juveniles -- face charges of disorderly conduct.
The fight has even resulted in two families losing their homes.
Moultrie Housing Authority Director Glenda Hall said the fight violated the families' leases. The leases state that if a resident engages in any violent or drug-related activity on or off the MHA premises the landlord can terminate or choose not to renew it, Hall said. The two families were asked to give up their apartments, and they complied, she said.
Repeated reports of harassment and violence pushed the matter to this point, the director said.
"Our law-abiding residents have the right to live in a safe environment where they do not have to be afraid. If we didn't require all of our residents to comply with the lease, then we wouldn't be doing our job," she said. "I've bent over backward ... with both of these tenants to work this out."
One tenant, a single mother with five children, said she had applied for a transfer but could not afford the $200 fee she was told was required. Hall confirmed she did ask for a transfer, but she said no fees are required.
The families can reapply for housing with the authority, but there's no guarantee they'll be allowed back in even if juvenile court drops the charges, Hall said.
On Friday, a police report was filed alledging ongoing harassment of one set of girls by the other, but the school and the MHA say they believe both sides are in the wrong.
"In my investigation, it was equal," Jones said. "That girl was actually stalking her too."
He said he told one of the girls if someone was threatening her to seek out school staff for protection.
"But when you choose to come in and turn it on, that's totally different," he said.
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