Parents swarm Chester High after student is shot

Posted: September 25, 2007

Cars of parents were streaming to Chester High late this morning to pick up their children, following the shooting of a student at the school.

A parade of cars met up with dozens of students milling outside the school, waiting for their rides.

"This is just a disgrace. Kids can't even go to school safe," said John Pyatt, 41, who was picking up his freshman son. "They need to do something with this," he added, saying he's thinking of finding another school for his son.

The lockdown is over at Chester High and Columbus Elementary after a shooting outside Chester High this morning, and the schools are continuing to hold classes - with whatever students remain.

Both schools were locked down following the shooting, which took place just before 9 a.m.

Kareem York Jr., 17, was taken to Chester-Crozier Medical Center with a gunshot wound. Contrary to an earlier report, he is a student, says his cousin, Talia Spence, 20, who showed up at the school in SpongeBob SquarePants pajamas and pink slippers.

"Peetie is a good student," she said. "He don't bother nobody, and he is not no gang member."

He's a junior and a basketball player who gets A's, she said.

"He's not a bad a child. We are around that boy 24/7 and he is a full-time student."

She said his mother told her by phone that he was shot in the groin, not in the leg, as initial reports said.

Officials would not confirm the victim's identity.

The alleged shooter, who is still being sought by police, is not a student, authorities said.

"This is a traumatic thing," said Chester-Upland School District superintendant Gregory E. Thornton, explaining the decision to let parents pick up their children.

Chester High has 23 security officers, five of whom are armed, principal Keith Arrington said. "They were on top of the situation right away. ... They stop things before they take off."

"By all acounts, the school year had been moving relatively well," he said.

The high school is at 200 West Ninth Street in Chester.

Contact Inquirer online editor Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or

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