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Extra security after high school brawl

May 12, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Students at Locke High School in south Los Angeles were greeted by extra security Monday following a huge brawl that broke out between students last Friday.The school was put on lockdown after a fight broke out between African-American and Latino students.

Click in the Eyewitness News Story Window above to watch Melissa MacBride's report from Locke High School in South Los Angeles.

Along with the extra police, counselors and district officials are on the school grounds Monday. It's a testing day at Locke High School, so school officials want to make sure the students are staying in class and in line.

Police are patrolling the campus on foot, motorcycle and in squad cars. They hope to deter a continuation of Friday's melee between African-American and Latino students.

Kevin Conner and his friends, who say they were involved in the fight, are expecting round two on Monday.

"The school we go to, the hood's right here, you know, there's all kind of guys that come in here," said Conner. "There's even cops, there's a cop station right here. They can't stop us, you know."

A dozen school police officers are on duty at Locke this week, instead of just two. Plus four to six LAPD officers are on the perimeter. Some students say the extra security should prevent a repeat brawl.

"There's too many people here to pick up where it left off. There's too many people, too many police and that's the reason why it started, there weren't enough police here," said Locke High student Timothy Boykin.

Police say 50 to 100 students were fighting while hundreds more egged them on. The school went into lockdown and about 60 officers were called to the campus to restore order after the fight mushroomed into an out-of-control brawl.

Three students were arrested for fighting and one non-student was arrested for possessing a knife. Four students were treated by the school nurse for minor injuries.

Police and students say racial tensions between Latino and African-American students were factors in the fight.

"What I've been seeing is, is really bad between these two races," said Locke High student Jasmine Thompson.

"Were there also tensions between tagging groups? Yeah, we've heard that. It's all of those reasons. And they build up and that kettle, at some point the top blows and usually it's in the month of May," said Deputy Chief Mike Bowman from the LAUSD Police.

Many parents are concerned about the potential for more violence before summer break.

"Yeah, I'm kind of worried, but I already told her to watch out, you know, stay away from the people that are trying to cause a problem," said Sylvia Miranda, whose daughter attends Locke High School.

The problem has community activists pushing for dialog and action from the superintendent's office down to the classroom.

"We're concerned about what's happening in the community and we're begging to allow us to be apart of the solution because we know that we can make a difference," community activist Melvin Snell.

The principal of Locke High School told Eyewitness News that he is grateful to have a lot of outside help from people in the community.

The heavy police presence at the campus will remain in effect at least through the end of the week.

 

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