School Fight May Be Racial

Ivan Penn, St. Petersburg Times, Nov. 9, 2006

Seven people were arrested Wednesday afternoon following what police are calling a racially charged incident at a Largo High School football practice.

Police did not release names and ages of those arrested, though at least some of them are believed to be juveniles.

Police said the arrests followed a disturbance at the practice during which some students accused other students of using racial slurs. As many as 50 students were involved or witnessed the clash, said Largo police Sgt. Leonard Ward.

The trouble appeared to begin at a nearby Wendy’s, police said, but it was unclear what happened there that led to the incident on campus.

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A parent, Lisa Decker, said the incident involved a dispute between some black students and her 14-year-old daughter, who is white.

Decker said her daughter had dated an African-American member of the football team, but they had stopped dating a year ago. While the player and her daughter remain cordial, Decker said some other students have taunted her daughter.

Decker said the taunting peaked at the Wendy’s after school. Decker said she went to pick up her daughter about 11:50 a.m., and found herself in the middle of the dispute with several African-American students, and that one of them punched her in the face.

“I never in my life have seen anything like it,” said Decker, who complained of a sore jaw.

Decker said she was troubled because police arrested only whites when she was struck by a black student. Police confirmed that all of those arrested were white.

She said Wednesday night her daughter complained of e-mails that threatened more confrontations.

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