Last in series of meetings to discuss Bay View Schools violence set for Monday

MILWAUKEE -- Two meetings were held Monday evening, November 26th to discuss transforming Bay View Middle and High School after a brawl on October 18th at Bay View High School that resulted in 30 arrests.

Monday's meetings were the last in a series of "Believe in Bay View" meetings. The goal of these meetings was to offer an opportunity for parents and neighbors to share opinions, listen to others' ideas and assist MPS as it develops a long-term plan for the school. 

Back on October 18th, police responded to Bay View High School just before 9:00 a.m. 22 MPD squad cars and 29 police officers responded to the scene, and the school was placed under "lockdown" for a short time.

Those arrested include eight adults (17-19 years old), 20 juveniles (13-16 years old) and two 11-year-old students. The adults and juveniles arrested received disorderly conduct citations. The 11-year-old students were transported to MPD's District 6 and released to their parents.

Tracy Alvarez is a parent of three. Her oldest is a student at Bay View High School. Ever since the fight in October, she says she has questioned the way the school is run.

"My true feeling is that this school needs a lot of improvement. I will not send my other two children here unless there's any vast improvements. It has to be major steps taken," Alvarez said.

Following the October fight and the subsequent arrests, both school and city officials spoke about changes they want to see, and they say they want to see these changes in place soon.

"This school right now is not a safe school. The residents and the neighbors have been telling us this, and what happened today merely dramatized what`s happened at this school on a regular basis," Alderman Tony Zielinski said.

Zielinski called for MPS administration to address safety issues at Bay View High School. Zielinski and concerned residents said there's been a pattern of disorderly student behavior that has spilled into the community.

"Pretty much since the first day of school children are in the parks during the entire school day. There`s vandalism, and it's beyond just ditching school. There`s disrespect to property vandalism, graffiti and drug use," Zielinski said.

Bay View High School is MPS' school with the second-highest rate of bused students, and some neighbors feel there is a disconnect when students aren't from the neighborhood, and don't take ownership of their actions. Zielinski says he believes many of the problems come from habitual offenders.

"The school has not adequately dealt with those habitual behavioral issues, and what we need to do is have a mechanism in place that there's accountability and consequences to students that don`t get with the program," Zielinski said.

Zielinski said he has ideas for MPS' administration.

"We set up a special school for kids that are causing problems in the neighborhood. We need to put them in a school where we can get them the type of help they need that they`re not getting now," Zielinski said.

MPS spokesperson Tony Tagliavia also told FOX6 News: "We know that the inexcusable actions of some do not represent the more than 1,000 students of the school."

A group of parents and a school board member told FOX6 News they have been working on a plan to turn the neighborhood around, change curriculum at the school and making the school more of a neighborhood school.

Some of the ideas that have been put forth include: changing the school into a K3 through 12 Montessori school, implementing school uniforms and raising admission and graduation standards are among 15 big ideas to turn Bay View around. Though feedback has been given over the past few weeks, the school's future is ultimately up to the school board.

"My personal hope is that they listen to the process and listen to the decisions that have been made through the process," parent Tim Clements said.

All of the ideas to transform Bay View Schools will go to a community-based steering committee. They are expected to give the school board a final proposal, which could be voted on in January. 

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