Gwinnett student injured by box cutter during fight at Grayson High

Credit: Gwinnett County Public Schools

Credit: Gwinnett County Public Schools

Schools in district have seen growing concerns with behavior and safety

A Grayson High School student was taken to the hospital after he was sliced by a box cutter during a fight Monday morning, the school’s principal said in a letter to students’ families.

Principal Dana Pugh said the fight between two males happened in a bathroom and was broken up by a teacher. The student who was cut has serious injuries that are not considered life-threatening, Pugh said. He did not say if the other student was hurt.

“Equally troubling,” he said, “several students recorded the fight and have posted them on social media.”

ExploreSchool safety concerns grow after fatal shooting of Gwinnett student

Pugh assured that the students who were fighting and the students who recorded would face discipline. He said the student who wielded a box cutter would face criminal charges.

“I want to be clear, what happened today is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” he said.

Pugh’s statement echoed one issued by Gwinnett County Superintendent Calvin Watts after Norcross High School student DeAndre Henderson was shot and killed off-campus during the school day last week. Watts emphasized that students involved would face tribunals in the discipline system and criminal charges as appropriate.

“Any student involved in violence or threats of violence at our schools will face consequences,” Watts said.

Pugh turned attention to the community, asking people to help make Gwinnett safer.

“Working together, we must help our young people understand that we, the adults in their lives, at school, at home, and in the community, are united and that violence and bad behavior have no place in the Grayson High community,” Pugh said.

The district has faced scrutiny recently over discipline policies and student behavior. Leaders have been adjusting their approach to discipline, turning to relationship-focused restorative practices and attempting to reduce the amount of students removed from class. In recent years, Gwinnett has sent more students to alternative schools than the Atlanta, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton districts combined despite having less than half the student population.

ExploreGwinnett far outpaces metro Atlanta in alternative school assignments

At a recent school board meeting, parents, students and teachers said the changes implemented have not worked. Some described students feeling unsafe and others feeling emboldened to misbehave.

In the days since that meeting, Gwinnett schools have seen a number of disturbing incidents.

After school Oct. 21, a student was arrested on accusations he fired a gun near Shiloh High School.

Brookwood High School was locked down Oct. 26 — the same day that Henderson was killed — due to a false report posted on social media that someone was inside the school with a gun.