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PAISD board president downplays alleged bullying at Memorial High School

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PORT ARTHUR -

Port Arthur School Board President Lloyd Marie Johnson wears her pride for Memorial High School on her shirt, and even displays a sign of support outside her home, but her pride turned to disappointment when she watched a video of a special needs student being beat up by a group of boys.

Johnson said, "First reaction...it breaks our hearts as a board...but we do realize things happen."

The attack happed in the Memorial High gym last Friday.

The video, which 12News aired exclusively Thursday night shows the student being punched numerous times as he desperately tries to defend himself.

Johnson told 12News, "You have to realize this is Spring Fever time.  Kids are going to be getting out of school, they're going to be rambunctious, so things are going to happen."

Johnson calls it an isolated incident, and that any student who hurts another will be punished.

However, she doesn't believe Memorial has a problem with bullying nor violence.  But Memorial sophomore Shakendra Lang disagrees.

She says, "For this week, we've had about five fights with different students, with  the drugs and stuff."

In addition to the fight captured on video, 12News also reported on a brother and sister, who were attacked last week.

The Port Arthur police officer who took their report, Officer Candace Carter, admitted there was not enough security to protect the 1600 students on campus.

Johnson says, "It was decided that we beef up security, get very aggressive with that, have our assistant principals be a little more visible, as well as principals, we do have hall monitors, and they going to be more visible as well."

But Johnson also told us, "Our administrators can be every place at one time, security can't be every place at one time, kids are kids and kids get in trouble, unfortunately.

We also spoke to Jefferson County Constable Eddie Collins.  Collins' deputies provide security for the district.

He also believes the recent incidents are isolated.  But he admits students are more familiar with the layout of the school than his deputies, so they know where to go fight and not get caught.

Constable Collins says his deputies will start targeting those areas.

He also says students involved in the attack on the special needs student have already started getting citation, and could face suspension.

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