ECISD working to limit fights in schools

ODESSA, Tx (KOSA) -- With over 30,000 students, Ector County Independent School District deals with conflicts on a daily basis. To handle the issue, staff members are given conflict resolution training.

“Kids are triggered so easily,” ECISD police officer Shawn Callendar said. “Anytime they’re told anything from any person that opposes them, they see it as a challenge and they want to fight over it.”

Campus officers spend 20 hours learning not only how to diffuse situations, also how to handle kid’s mental and emotional health.

“It reduces the hands-on part of it,” Callendar said. “We don’t want to use physical force against a child. If you’re proactive on your campus and you can detect issues beforehand, then you can solve those problems before they happen.”

In addition to normal school counselors, every ECISD middle school and high school has at least one licensed crisis counselor on campus.

“They start coming out with these very irrational ideas of ‘Oh I’m going to fight them. I’m going to do this’,” crisis counselor Anthony Garza said. “And we talk about what are you getting out of that? What is that going to do for you? Is it going to solve the problem or make it worse? When they have that person to go talk to, and realize just talking about it made it better.”

While officers and counselors try to do their part, they said parents play an equally important role in stopping fights.

“When parents come in they always say I had no idea this was going on,” Garza said. “I get that you have to work a lot. I get that there are other children in your home. But if you can find out what is going on in your child’s life, and your child knows they can come to you when there’s problems, you’re going to solve a lot of problems in your home.”