JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - After seeing a video of her daughter being attacked in the cafeteria at Lake Shore Middle School on Jacksonville's Westside, a mother said she's heartbroken and upset.
The video, which shows several people fighting in the cafeteria, was captured Wednesday on a student's cellphone and has since gone viral online.
On Thursday, News4Jax spoke to the eight-grade student, Zykeria Sawyer, who can be seen being dragged by her hair in the video, and her mother, Michelle Palmer. They both said the fight could have been prevented.
"The whole fight broke out and all you see is girls from the side rushing from over the table and I'm sitting down and she pulled by my hair and I fell back," Sawyer said. "I'm just so confused about what is going on."
Sawyer said she told teachers that another student had been giving her a hard time. She said that escalated, and six girls attacked her and three friends while eating lunch.
Her mother said she was shocked to get the phone call about her daughter's attack, but even more surprised to see the video on social media.
“It was just heartbreaking and devastating," Palmer said. "I mean, who wants to look on social media and see their child being involved in a fight like that?”
The principal sent a letter home to parents about the fight, saying the school is implementing safety procedures because of what happened. Those measures include smaller lunch groups, separating boys and girls, and decreased privileges to discourage bad behavior.
"We send our kids to school to learn and to be protected," Palmer said. "If the school staff can’t protect them, then what’s the point of sending them there?"
In another video, a school official can be seen trying to break up the fight.
According to Duval County Public Schools, four staff members were in the cafeteria when the fight broke out and 10 more teachers came to intervene.
“Just have more people and staff inside the cafeteria at one time when you know not everybody likes each other," Sawyer said.
Sawyer wasn't hurt, but she said she's unsure whether she'll feel safe at school again.
The students involved in the fight are being disciplined.
School district officials said that safety is their priority for schools, and they ask parents to talk to their children about positive conflict resolution strategies and social media use.
Palmer said she plans on pressing charges against the students who attacked her daughter.
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