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School Leaders Alarmed By Growing Student Involvement With Gangs

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NASH COUNTY, N.C. — A fight involving nearly a dozen teenagers claiming to be involved with gangs at a Nash County high school has school officials and parents concerned.

The fight, which authorities believe to be gang-involved, broke out in the hallway at Nash Central High School on Monday. Although no one was injured and there were no weapons involved, school officials and police are still taking the fight very seriously.

"We've never had anything of that magnitude," said Nash Central Principal LeRoy Hartsfield. "We'll have a fight from time to time."

Hartsfield says the school is concerned about a growing number of students who are interested in gangs and that Monday's fight, which involved 11 students, is not an isolated situation.

"It's a community issue that needs to be addressed," Hartsfeld said.

Rocky Mount Police Chief John Manley agrees, and says his officers are working with community leaders to get gangs off the streets and out of the schools.

"It's a serious problem to me, and I think, it should be a serious problem to anyone."

As for the fight, Hartsfield wants to send a clear message to students, as well as the community. Right now, the students involved are suspended for 10 days, but Hartsfeld said he would likely recommend long-term suspension or expulsion.

"School is an environment for learning," he said. "It is not an environment to resolve some of the problems (students) have in their communities about turf."

School leaders say they're working with police to identify local gangs.