Vintage Rally Spurs Clash

Cristina De Leon-Menjivar, Napa Valley Register (Napa, Cal.), May 6, 2006

A lunchtime pro-America demonstration by Vintage High students turned into a tense verbal clash Friday, as Anglo and Latino students taunted each other. In one case, two female students got into a fight.

The demonstration in Vintage High’s back parking lot was organized by Anglo students. About 30 teens came together around several pick-up trucks, proudly waving American flags and blasting country music.

The demonstration angered some Latino students, who banded together and confronted the others.

According to Vintage Principal Eric Schneider, about 50 students were involved, and there were many spectators.

“It’s unfortunate, this was supposed to be a day of celebration,” Schneider said, referring to the school’s Cinco de Mayo festivities—which went forward in a different part of campus.

Faculty and administrators went out to break up the altercation, and some students pulled their friends away so they wouldn’t get injured. Napa police showed, but the fight had broken up by the time they arrived. Several students were sent home early.

Vintage Dean of Students Cam Neal said that some students were showed disrespect to both the U.S. and Mexican flags, by spitting on or pulling them. The tension led to a fight between two girls, but officials reported that no one was injured.

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The student organizers of Vintage’s pro-America demonstration said they purposely picked May 5—Cinco de Mayo—to show their support for America. Several Anglo students said they were tired of other students carrying Mexican flags, and saw this as their chance to send a message.

“If (Latinos) are going to protest (America), we’re going to protest them,” Chase Daniels, 18, said.

Students rode on the back of trucks, waving American flags and wearing red, white and blue clothing. One student donned an Uncle Sam hat.

Andrew Steler, a senior who said he just signed up for an eight-year hitch with the Marine Corps, said he was exercising his freedom of speech.

“We should celebrate (America) everyday . . . and we shouldn’t let other nations run us out of here,” Steler said.

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