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‘No control:’ Parents worry about student safety at MPS school, demand change

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MILWAUKEE -- Parents say fights are breaking out nearly ever day among students at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Lifelong Learning (WCLL), a Milwaukee Public Schools facility near 12th and State.

Parents say the fights have gotten so out of hand over the past month that the students basically run the school. In fact, when FOX6 News was outside the building on Monday, April 1, our team noticed a boarded up door, people banging on the outside of the building, and students yelling from the windows.

In three separate incidents in the past two weeks, one thing has become clear to parents and community activitists.

"Our students' safety is in danger," said King Rick of the Original Black Panthers.

Cellphone video captured massive brawls breaking out.

"You know, that concerns you when your kid comes home and says he's afraid to come to school," said Taisha Cole, a parent of a student at WCLL.

Cole has a 15-year-old son who attends WCLL. She said she has witnessed a Code Red herself while in the office.

"And next thing you know, you just see students coming from everywhere just fighting. It's not just two fighting, it's a lot of them fighting," Cole said.

Parents believe the teachers are overwhelmed and under-trained.

"No control. No control at all," said one parent. "It's just really bad up in here. At the moment, we got kids yelling out the window at me. Right now."

"My grandkid's last day was last week Wednesday," said a grandparent of a student. "Something really needs to be done about it. Because if they don't, somebody is going to get killed."

Those protesting outside WCLL on Monday morning say they have expressed their concerns to the principal and school board. But they say the violence continues.

"It's always the same run-around. You just get tired of it," said one parent.

King Rick with the Original Black Panthers is now calling on the community to put pressure on district leaders to address the problem.

"MPS is failing our students," King Rick said.

In a statement, Milwaukee Public Schools said the following about the situation at WCLL:

"MPS values the concern of the families at Wisconsin Conservatory of Lifelong Learning and the Milwaukee community regarding matters of behavior in the school.

"MPS strives to provide a high-quality education in a safe environment for every student in the district. When we become aware of a situation that distracts from education or safety, it receives our complete attention.

"We maintain open channels of communication with all families. We want to assure all families, students, and community members that district leaders are investigating and seeking solutions to recent disruptions at Wisconsin Conservatory of Lifelong Learning.

"As MPS continues their investigation, the school is adding support staff to WCLL and coordinating additional conversations with families, students, and school staff."

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