SEPTA police dealing with rise in fights involving student commuters

Multiple videos showing Philadelphia student commuters engaging in violent brawls on SEPTA platforms have raised concerns about travel safety during school dismissal time.

One video, which surfaced last Thursday, shows an all-out brawl on the 11th Street Market-Frankford stop between female students from the Charter High School for Architecture and Design and the Philadelphia Electrical and Technology Charter.

Carlena Hayes says her niece, who is a junior at C.H.A.D, was jumped by a group of girls. She was suspended for her role in the fight.

"She's considering being taken out of the school and being homeschooled," Hayes said.

Hayes also told FOX 29 of another fight in early September, that involved girls pounding on a fellow student while aboard a train car.

SEPA transit police are aware of the growing safety concern these fights pose to students, their families and fellow commuters.

“Somewhere in this city there’s going to be a huge fight at school dismissal time today, tomorrow, Wednesday," Chief Tom Nestel said.

SEPTA police monitor thousands of surveillance cameras to look out for sudden fights. They also work with schools to collect tips on brewing rivalries and have begun deploying additional officers during dismissal hours. Still, the violence continues on the SEPTA lines.

"I mean, we have video after video of officers breaking up fights and the fight comes over top of the officer," Chief Nestel said. "They don't care the police are there."

Meanwhile, for commuters, school dismissal hours have become a time to avoid.

"I try to avoid when the school kids get off," Craig Williams said. "It gets a little busy and hectic and chaotic, and can get rowdy."