HHS Plans Family Meeting Tonight After Student Fight; Cell Phone Violators Face ‘Consequences’

Officials took time to hear Principal Jason Meland plans during a September meet and greet outside Haverhill High School. From left, are Councilor John A. Michitson, School Committee member Richard J. Rosa, Meland, Council President Melinda E. Barrett, School Committee member Paul A. Magliocchetti, Joseph LeBlanc and School Committee member Gail M. Sullivan. (WHAV News photograph.)

After what was described as a “challenging week,” involving a fight among students and a staff member getting struck, Haverhill High School is having a “family meeting” tonight.

Led by Haverhill High Principal Jason Meland and Superintendent Margaret Marotta, the meeting is intended “to address the harm done to our community and to prevent future incidents from occurring.” Meland said the school will share information and answer questions at 6 p.m., in the High School Auditorium, 137 Monument St.

“As has been widely reported, across the state and nation students are having a difficult time readjusting to in-person school after 18 months of COVID restrictions and limited in-person schooling. However, I want to be clear: this does not mean that behavior that violates our expectations or our code of conduct is acceptable. It is not and will not be tolerated,” Meland said in an email to families Sunday.

There will also be a student forum Friday during the school’s first period.

The principal also warned not all reports should be taken at face value.

“…Like most complex situations involving multiple people, there are many rumors to explore and many people to interview. At this time, what is known is that numerous staff intervened immediately to keep the students apart. While trying to separate the students, a staff member was struck,” he said.

Haverhill police arrested seven students following last Wednesday’s fight, but Meland said “students who recorded the incident on their cell phones are being identified and face consequences.”

Meanwhile, Meland said, the high school has received a $10,000 “Safe and Supportive Schools” grant from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The money will be used to conduct a needs assessment and family members will be included on a planning committee.

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