La Follette High parents discuss school security, fights with Madison Superintendent Jen Cheatham

Karen Rivedal:

More than 150 people — most of them parents, many of them worried and frustrated — filled the cafeteria at La Follette High School Tuesday night to share their concerns about school safety, security, students fighting and the student behavior code with Madison School District Superintendent Jen Cheatham and Principal Sean Storch.

“It’s not being addressed quickly enough,” said Scott Schmidt, to loud applause, about increasing trouble at the school, noting many La Follette parents like him have children who were now worried about coming to class because of a small group of sometimes violent troublemakers causing problems for everyone else. “It’s kind of like a hurricane has hit. We need triage.”

Cheatham and Storch acknowledged the problems and promised some quick remedies, including posting more staff to supervise school exits and entrances and coming up with more alternative, project-based work to better engage the estimated 6 percent of students that Storch said were responsible for a rise in disciplinary problems.

Related: Gangs and School Violence forum audio and video.