Latinos, Blacks Fight Whites at Hart High; 4 Students Arrested

Sue Doyle, Los Angeles Daily News, April 29, 2006

Fighting between white, black and Latino students Friday at Hart High School resulted in the arrests of four teens, a sheriff’s sergeant said.

Students were arrested on suspicion of failure to disperse, said sheriff’s Sgt. Cortland Myers, adding that the fight appeared racially motivated. There were no injuries.

Witnesses said black and Latino classmates teamed up together and fought white students during lunch in retaliation for a fight between two teens at the school on Thursday when racial names were called.

William S. Hart Union High School District officials said it was not known what started the fighting or whether it was racially based.

Students on campus had other impressions.

“It was racial. All the Mexican and blacks gathered up and fought the whites,” said Agustin Chavez, 15. “It was a rumble.”

The freshman was off campus when fighting broke out about 12:35 p.m. and watched from the street as sheriff’s deputies swarmed the school to intervene.

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After the fights, the school went into lockdown. Gates were snapped shut, and school staff monitored entrances. Even a garbage truck was turned away.

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With one son by her side, Robin Simons of Valencia scanned the crowd, looking for her other boy to come out of the school.

When she first learned of the lockdown, she said she immediately flashed back to a race riot she witnessed as a student in the 1970s at Granada Hills High School. She was saddened at the thought of students today experiencing the same tension again.

“Nothing has changed over time. It just moved one valley over,” she said. “It’s so scary.”

In February, nine students from Golden Valley High School were arrested and booked on suspicion of battery after a campus brawl fought along racial lines.

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