Gang Fight Rumors at Little Rock’s J.A. Fair High School

LITTLE ROCK, AR — Several police cruisers surrounded J.A. Fair High School in Little Rock on Friday morning. 

Officers went onto the campus with their dogs to check the school, after rumors circulated on social media that gang fights would take place.

“I was thinking ‘Wow, I‘ve never seen that many before,'” said Beverly Smith, whose granddaughter attends J.A. Fair.

Smith didn’t expect to see all the police officers on campus when she dropped her granddaughter off.  But after hearing about fights that were supposed to take place on campus, she was glad to see them there.

“They’re proving a point. They’re not going to tolerate any mess,” Smith said.

The rumors started after a fight earlier in the week. 

According to Little Rock School District spokeswoman Pamela Smith, the fights did not involve students who claim to be a part of opposing gangs.  But just to be safe, police officers swarmed the campus.  

Beverly Smith thinks this should teach the students a lesson.

“School is not where you carry on like this. You come to school to learn, get your education, make yourself a better person, and then you go home and live a better life,” she said.

She’s hoping after spring break, things will return to normal.

Wednesday, the administrators at J.A. Fair High School received information about a rumor of a threat related to gang violence. As a result, principal Jeremy Owoh requested additional Little Rock Police officers to supplement the two LRPD student resource officers and five Little Rock School District Safety and Security officers currently assigned to the campus, as a precaution to avert any potential threat. Safety and Security staff and Fair administrators also began an investigation, questioning 50 students and 20 staff members (teachers), inquiring whether or not they had any knowledge of any imminent gang activity.

Concerns that impact students can often reflect issues that are prevalent in society, however, the students and teachers with whom we spoke indicated they were unaware of any gang-related threat. Still, Mr. Owoh felt it important to heighten the sense of alertness on campus.

We also want to address concerns raised Thursday following a fight between three male students – based on statements taken from those involved, we do not believe the incident to be related to the rumor of gang activity. Those students were removed from campus and have been sanctioned according to the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.

We assure you that the District takes this matter very seriously and the school is employing every available resource to continue investigating and tracking down the source of the alleged threat. Mr. Owoh requested additional LRPD officers again Friday to work with Little Rock Police school-based resource officers and school security personnel. Both school days ended without incident.

The following are security measures that are in use daily on LRSD campuses:

LRSD requires quarterly scans of all students on campuses, three random scans of students and two random scans of lockers. Schools may elect to do them more frequently.

Security systems, including use of hand-held scanning devices, cameras, Little Rock police officers, LRSD Safety and Security officers, school visibility plans, teacher monitoring of hallways, and the alertness of many students, contribute to our sense and practice for the safety of students and staff. Additionally, we have a hotline and reliance on call-ins that provide critical input for our overall security efforts.

Please be assured we are constantly working to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff and will continue to be alert. We will provide you additional information as it becomes available. If you have further concerns or questions, feel free to contact principal, Jeremy Owoh

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