Sixth District School Board candidate Art Burton has called the recent disruptions at Armstrong High School “an emergency situation” and calls for both anti-gang measures and “a town hall forum to discuss violent and disruptive behavior at Armstrong and seek recommendations in resolving these issues on the community level”.
Thursday – October 9, 2008 Contact Art Burton at 804-467-6408 for more information. An emergency situation is developing at Armstrong High School in Richmond’s East End: gang activity is disrupting the educational process. The crisis at this school undermines confidence in our school system, risks the lives of teachers and students alike, and threatens public safety in Richmond’s communities. Last Tuesday, while out canvassing the community, I was approached by a woman and asked what I could do to help her granddaughter get out of Armstrong High School immediately. She explained to me about fights and code Reds and teachers and principals being assaulted. She was adamant that this child was terrified of the violence when she should only be worried about her studies. On Friday, I learned from a community leader in Whitcomb Court and she asked about me what could be done for her grandson, who attended Armstrong high School and was frightened and no longer wanted to attend school. Monday morning I called a friend whose neighbor teaches at Armstrong and he shared with me that he was going to the school board meeting that night to support her as she intended to speak out about being assaulted and cursed and the fact that the administration could not get the situation under control. I attended the school board meeting and watched as teachers stood before the school board crying and begging for help because they are not being protected well enough to do their jobs. There is something terrifying going on at Armstrong high school. Young men and women from different communities have formed into gangs and are waging war over tops of the heads of both teachers and students who are trying participate in the educational process. These problems are getting worse, and without intervention we will lose teachers, students, and possibly lives. The entire Richmond community must look to Armstrong high school and resolve the issue. I am asking that the community of Richmond join me as I take the following steps: Contact the Commonwealth Attorney and Attorney General’s Office for the Commonwealth of Virginia and request these entities immediately target Armstrong high School for GRIP resources and the removal of gang presence. Contact the Mayor of the City of Richmond and request that he instruct the Chief of Police to take immediate action to restore order at Armstrong high school and instruct Communities’ Intelligence Units to follow gangs back to the neighborhoods and eliminate the problem. Contact the Richmond City Council of PTAs and Richmond Tenants Organization to request their collaboration in holding a town hall forum to discuss “violent and disruptive behavior at Armstrong and seek recommendations in resolving these issues on the community level. WE MUST ACT NOW! Contact Art Burton at 804-467-6408 for more information.