DC schools change dismissal times to halt student fights

WASHINGTON — Fights between students who attend two D.C. schools have prompted school officials to change the start and dismissal times for the schools located near the NoMa neighborhood.

In a letter sent to parents earlier this week, the principals of Dunbar High School and McKinley Technology Education Campus noted an increase in “inappropriate behavior,” including fights along the route from the two schools to the NoMa-Gallaudet and Rhode Island Avenue Metro stations.

The campuses of Dunbar and McKinley are less an a mile apart; the NoMa-Gallaudet station is the closest Metro station to both schools.

Both high schools currently start their regular school days at 8:45 a.m. and end at 3:15 p.m.

Beginning Monday, McKinley will start and end school 10 minutes earlier (8:35 a.m. to 3:05 p.m.). Dunbar High School will start and school 10 minutes later (8:55 a.m. to 3:25 p.m.).

“Staggered timing will allow a 20-minute gap between dismissals, which will mean fewer students heading to the Metro station at the same time. We are committed to fostering a learning environment where students feel safe and secure both in school and to-and-from school,” said D.C. Public Schools spokeswoman Michelle Lerner in a written statement.

In the letter to parents, the principals of the two schools say they are partnering with D.C. police, Metro Transit Police, the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation and other groups to come up with other solutions and action plans to stop the fighting.

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