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Students defend Rolesville High after video shows principal being knocked down

Video shows Rolesville High principal falling to floor while trying to break up fight

An online video shows the principal of Rolesville High School and the school resource officer being knocked down while trying to break up a fight involving students. The principal says “the altercation appeared worse than it was.”
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An online video shows the principal of Rolesville High School and the school resource officer being knocked down while trying to break up a fight involving students. The principal says “the altercation appeared worse than it was.”

Students, parents and teachers are rallying around Rolesville High School following a video posted on social media showing the principal and school resource officer being knocked down while trying to break up a fight in the cafeteria.

Rolesville High has been put under a spotlight since the video of Wednesday’s fight surfaced showing principal Dhedra Lassister being knocked down and lying on the ground. On Thursday, members of the school community took to social media using the #myRolesville hashtag to praise Lassiter and say the video doesn’t reflect the positive things going on at the school.

“At #MyRolesville I love this school and the people here,” tweeted Laney LaRussa, a Rolesville High senior. “Everyone I’ve met has great character and works hard.

“Our principal is fantastic and I am so grateful to have someone like her running our school. This incident does not reflect how Rolesville is at all.”

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Dhedra Lassiter

Lassiter, who was the Wake County school system’s 2014 Principal of the Year, has been principal of Rolesville High since 2016. Students said she’s made many positive changes at the school since then.

But the past two years have also seen Rolesville High get unwanted attention. For instance, a 2017 video went viral of a Rolesville police officer breaking up a fight by picking up a female student and slamming her to the floor.

There have been other media reports of videos of other fights at the school.

“At #MyRolesville, Mrs. Lassiter (and all of the administrative team) have been extremely supportive of the Arts Department,” tweeted Rolesville High’s dance program. “There are good things happening at Rolesville that often get overlooked by the one negative thing that happens. Let’s work together to show our good things!”

Lassiter also has been downplaying the latest incident. In a note sent to the school’s families, Lassiter said she and the school resource officer “were inadvertently bumped and fell to the floor” while trying to break up the fight involving four students.

“I want to assure you that the altercation appeared worse than it was,” Lassiter said in the message. “No one was seriously injured. Thanks to the quick response and actions of our staff and SRO, we were quickly able to gain control of the situation.”

While federal student privacy laws prohibit her from sharing specific information about students, Lassiter told parents she’s working with Wake County school system security “to determine appropriate disciplinary action for the students involved.”

Rolesville Police also announced that three students were charged in the fight. In a news release, police said that two juveniles were charged with simple affray and that Nasir Latrell Lynch was charged with simple affray and disorderly conduct. A school district spokeswoman said Lynch is a freshman at Rolesville High.

Students and staff said they hope Wednesday’s video won’t be how the school is remembered.

“At #MyRolesville this school is changing a lot my principal been with me for a long time,” tweeted Jaylan Jones, a Rolesville High student. “People outside the school wouldn’t understand how this school is changing in a big way they just always see the bad at our school and never the good.”

A video posted Jan. 3, 2017 on Twitter appears to show a police officer body slamming a female Rolesville High School student in the wake of a large fight at the school.

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T. Keung Hui has covered K-12 education for the News & Observer since 1999, helping parents, students, school employees and the community understand the vital role education plays in North Carolina. His primary focus is Wake County, but he also covers statewide education issues.
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