May 8 — 2:39 pm, 2017

Viral video puts spotlight on Cheltenham High as students now speak out

cheltenham students Avi Wolfman-Arent (WHYY/NewsWorks)

A student brawl at Cheltenham High School that led to four arrests and left 10 staff members injured continues to weigh heavily on the collective minds of this suburban community just north of Philadelphia.

On Friday, published an anonymous teacher survey that documented festering staff concerns over school climate and safety

On Sunday, it was students’ turn to address the issues facing their beleaguered school. At a special teen town hall, about 30 students discussed safety concerns, lack of discipline, and racial tensions laid bare by the fight and reaction to it.

"We are under the impression that there are no consequences," said Cheltenham senior Valerie Melecio. "And that’s where we think we can do whatever we want."

During the forum itself, held at Congregation Kol Ami in Elkins Park, students were asked not to share their names as a way to facilitate open conversation. Several spoke afterward, however, about the painful week that has followed Wednesday’s fight.

Much of the conversation focused on race, playing out like a microcosm of conversations happening beyond the schoolhouse walls.

 Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

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