LAWRENCE, MASS. (WHDH) - Lawrence Public Schools officials voiced their frustrations Wednesday during a school board meeting over fights that continue to break out at the high school.

Superintendent Cynthia Paris says the pandemic’s effect on in-person learning may be taking a toll on the students’ mental and emotional health.

“We had prepared that our students would need additional social and emotional support,” she said. “We did not anticipate the high intensity of emotional responses our students are experiencing.”

On Friday, two fights broke out among 14 students in different parts of the campus following an off-campus pickup flag football game, according to school officials.

Most of the students involved were in the honor roll with no previous history of physical altercations, school officials said.

The district held disciplinary hearings for the students, which resulted in restorative justice meetings, suspensions, and high-level emotional support programming.

During the disciplinary hearings held on Tuesday, two more fights broke out, resulting in administrators being hurt while intervening, school officials said.

The administers are said to be doing well and rejoined the high school community Thursday.

Another fight that happened in front of police officers during dismissal Wednesday led to the arrest of three students, school officials added.

Lawrence Public Schools plans to add more school resource officers and two more community police officers at the high school.

“Our students are in crisis,” Paris said. “What we’re learning is that independent of all the resources that we have at hand, it’s still not enough.”

Paris added that the district hopes investigations, counseling, and more policing will help.

“This is going to be day by day in terms of the short-term responses and long-term solutions,” she said.

The full school board meeting can be viewed here.

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