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Teachers demand change at Riverside

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Buffalo school teachers and the school district are at odds about how many fights occurred Tuesday in Riverside high school.

The Buffalo Teachers Federation pegs the number of fights at 10; the district says five. The district says 17 students are being disciplined as a result.

The situation became so bad that a lockdown was ordered for most of Tuesday afternoon. In a news conference held outside Thursday, BTF President Phil Rumore said teachers have long been pleading for the district to do something to ease endemic violence in Riverside and little has been done.
"The irony. There was a grievance that was supposed to be held on the discipline in this building. It had to be canceled because the teachers couldn't leave to come Downtown because there was a lockdown because of fighting," Rumore said.

"Something has to be done. It has to be done now before someone is more seriously hurt and so that our kids that are in this school that really want to learn, can learn."

Riverside has four security officers and usually a police officer on duty from a basement office, several floors away from much of the violence.

The district produced several students who say things really aren't bad because they are learning and heading off to college in the fall.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.