Peoria High School students return to class with increased safety measures following fights on Friday

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Peoria High School students made their way back to the classroom after fights caused school to end early on Friday.

Students filled the halls of Peoria High Monday morning, just days after fights broke out at the school, which prompted an early dismissal and police intervention.

“It’s too bad we had to get to that point, right? But you have to adjust,” said Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat, Peoria Public Schools’ Superintendent.

Those adjustments came in the form of additional safety measures at the school, including increased security.

“Entering the building, during the building, they will sort of feel and see the difference,” Kherat said.

Kherat said she still feels disappointed after what happened Friday afternoon, which led to nine people being taken into custody, but she is optimistic the school has chosen the proper response.

“I feel strong about the plan that we have because when everything is said and done, we have to make sure that a majority of our kids, over 1,370 kids, they’re safe,” Kherat said.

Peoria Mayor Rita Ali also weighed in on the violence that broke out.

She said it’s her understanding that what occurred at Peoria High stemmed from prior events within the city.

“There’s a lot of hostility, there’s a lot of anger, there’s a lot of pain associated with some of these incidents,” Ali said.

Ali said it’s her hope that interventions can be created to help solve these conflicts, and she is also calling on the community to help ease tensions- especially adults.

“We have to be the role models for the young people, for the students. We have to actually teach them and show them how to handle conflict, and that’s not [through] violence,” Ali said.

Ali said that a group of law enforcement officers led by Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria met with District 150 leadership Monday morning.

She said the two groups are strategizing to address some of the problems that have been seen.

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