LORAIN, Ohio - Last week News 5 reported on fights and issues at Lorain High School. This week parents reached out with several new concerns. Children at an elementary school are acting out and their behavior is escalating out of hand, according to parents.
Three of Courtney Nazario's children go to Admiral Ernest J. King Elementary school in Lorain.
"I have a fifth grader, a third grader and a preschooler," she said. Nazario is concerned about issues reported in her children's' classrooms.
"They're to the point where they're throwing desks. They're throwing chairs. Screaming, yelling," Nazario said.
"Last week a teacher was physically hurt when one of the children had an outburst. He started kicking other students and then the teacher," according to Nazario.
Nazario said she admires the teachers, recognizes they're doing the best they can, but feels whatever changes have been made to policies are affecting her children's ability to learn.
"Why the policies are changed like this and why they feel they're working because apparently, they're not," she said, "This is happening in third grade! Third grade and they're letting this happen!"
She told News 5 she tried to get answers from school administrators and hasn't had any real follow-up on changes made in the school.
"It hasn't happened in years past. My girls have been here for six years and we've never had a problem like this," she said.
The CEO of Lorain Schools, David Hardy, did not respond to an interview request.
Last week Hardy told News 5 via email, "The politics of the city is something I choose not to engage in because we are determined to change the academic outcomes for our kids. We take safety seriously and unfortunately perception of Lorain has overshadowed the reality in our schools and buildings."
Lorain school officials told us there's no new comment on the situation.
According to past statements, students involved in recent fights at the high school have faced suspensions but those statements never mentioned how they deal with incidents at the elementary school level.
You can read the previous statement below:
School Board President Tony Dimacchia has been very outspoken about parents concerns and issues within the schools. "Our number one priority should and always should be our children and I don't think that's top priority on the CEO's agenda," he said.
As News 5 has reported, there's more to this. Per state House Bill 70, Hardy is in control. The bill stripped the elected Lorain school board of most power, after years of poor state report card performance.
"House bill 70 stripped us of all of our authority, so all we can do is expose what's going on," Dimacchia said in the past.
He was clear with News 5 that the board that isn't happy with how the recent violence and incidents on and near school grounds are being handled.
"I hope they realize what they've done is not working and they change, Dimacchia said Thursday.
So are problems worsening or are they being discussed more often? Another question posed by city members and officials.
Lorain City Councilman Angel Arroyo came forward Thursday to say he believes the issue is being politicized because of the state's control of the district.
"I'm not saying fights aren't happening. But I think it's people losing their power, voicing anything they think is wrong," he said.
Arroyo said he's spent time in schools this year and hasn't noticed a change or any new issues.
He said he understands if a parent has concerns about safety and suggested they reach out to individual schools directly, even when News 5 explained Nazario did exactly that.
"Unfortunately our school has been taken over by the state and so now we have a set of administration that is here for one job and another set of leaders that have lost their power, and for whatever reason, both sides are not able to meet," Arroyo said.
At the most recent school board meeting, Lorain Police Chief Cel Rivera addressed those concerns. "We're not going to resolve it if we politicize the issue. If we're not truthful when we talk about what the issues are and if we don't acknowledge it," Rivera said, "In speaking to our school resource officers they say that this year is completely different than the last few years."
Lorain police did not comment to News 5 directly — we were told via email "This is a school matter and the Lorain City schools will handle any questions you have."
Red tape aside, Lorain parents want to know how they move forward.
"Something truly needs to happen. If this is already into the 4th week of school and this is happening, it's not going to get any better," Nazario said.