Gang Presence Growing at Victor Valley’s High Schools

Miguel Gonzalez, Daily Press (Victor Valley), Apr. 17

VICTORVILLE—Yuseff Esmail admits he feels paranoid whenever he’s in school.

The 16-year-old Silverado High School student says he has no choice after he was injured in the right eye last October during a school fight between black and Hispanic students. Esmail was hit by a black student who apparently assumed that Esmail was Hispanic.

“I’m actually Kuwaiti. Somebody I never met decided to punch me in the eye because of my skin color,” Esmail said.

He was attacked with a metal object that left him with 20/60 vision in his right eye and the fear he will be a target again.

Esmail’s attacker was identified and punished but was allowed to come back to school, something that has angered Esmail’s father.

“The best way to kill this problem is to get rid of the people who are causing the violence. That way all kids can feel secure in their learning environment,” said Jacob Esmail.

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“It’s like a cancer that starts small and before you know it, it spreads all around. It is not just Hispanics and blacks fighting each other. It goes beyond that and it makes some kids want to join gangs to stop getting picked on, “ Hyman said.

Jacob Esmail has decided that after the matter of his son’s attack is resolved, he will sell his home and move his family.

“I came here the San Fernando Valley looking for safety and now I have to leave because it’s dangerous for my kids,” he said.

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Veronica Torrejón, Los Angeles Times, Apr. 16

Brawls at two high schools more than 70 miles apart Friday prompted officials to briefly lock down both campuses, authorities said.

A midmorning fight involved 15 to 20 students at Norte Vista High School in Riverside; about six students scuffled during lunchtime at Santa Monica High School.

One student involved in the melee at Norte Vista suffered an anxiety attack and was treated by paramedics. He was released to administrators, Principal Santos Campos said. Two or three other students suffered “scratches and minor bruises,” he said.

Several Norte Vista students and parents said the brawl was between Latino and black students, but Campos said that it was not racially motivated.

About five students were arrested, Campos said. Others involved were suspended and released to their parents.

At Santa Monica High, about half a dozen black and Latino students fought briefly, officials said. “It was more racial tension than it was gang-related,” Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Supt. John Deasy said.

School officials called police “to make sure there was no escalation” when about 100 onlookers would not disperse, Deasy said.

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