WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA9)--Only on 9, a local mother blows the lid off alleged conditions inside her daughter's middle school in Northwest Washington. She says she fears for her daughter's safety there and says the environment is not conducive to learning, or teaching.
Parents and teachers who confided in us believe their concerns are being dismissed because the school is among 15 DC Public Schools slated for closure this summer.
"I'm extremely upset. As a parent, I feel like you got back to me quicker than the Chancellor has," saidJoy Hicks-Parker, who's distressed by what she calls an environment of chaos and violence inside the walls of Shaw at Garnet-Patterson Middle School.
"It seems as though they're training our children of color for prison," she said.
She and others-parents and teachers, most too afraid of repercussions to be on camera-describe out of control students punching and shoving teachers, throwing desks, setting fires in the school gym and in a girls' bathroom.
"Teachers and parents, we're supposed to provide structure and stability for our children. But it's just a free-for-all," said Hicks-Parker.
One teacher told us on any given day, there are students roaming the hallways cutting class, frequent fights, theft, profanity and even police leading a student through the halls, in restraints.
"They had him in handcuffs, brought him to the main office. Five minutes later, he's walking the hallways, back and forth, back and forth. I call it child ping-pong," she said.
Students allegedly smoke marijuana in school bathrooms, when it isn't uncovered by security as in this instance.
"As they were going through the metal detector, one of the security guards saw the box of candy. But there was no candy in the box. It was marijuana," she said.
On the day we visited Shaw, a homeless man smoking a cigarette, huddled under a tattered blanket on school grounds. A Metropolitan Police video reveals a robbery taking place during the school day. The suspect appears to leave the school with a plastic bag, which sources say, held a stolen laptop.
Said Hicks-Parker, "I'm trying to figure out how a child is supposed to learn in that environment?"
We asked DCPS for an interview and spokeswomanMelissa Salmanowitz responded with this statement:
"The concerns about Shaw at Garnett Patterson are valid and shared by DCPS. We've made proactive changes, including hiring three new administrators, one solely dedicated to addressing issues with the special education population. When there are allegations of wrong-doing, we take them all seriously and investigate accordingly, involving MPD where appropriate."
Written by Andrea McCarren, WUSA9