Megan Blaney, San Bernardino County Sun, Jan. 17, 2007
Ten students have been disciplined for brawling at San Bernardino High School on Tuesday, and that number could climb to as many as 40 or 50 students as the investigation continues, school officials said.
A fight broke out during a pep rally Tuesday morning when a Latino student threw a bottle at a black student, and it ended with campus and school-district law enforcement firing pepper-ball guns to subdue the brawlers, said Linda Hill, director of communications for San Bernardino City Unified School District.
She said school officials are investigating and more disciplinary actions, including suspensions, may be on the way.
Latino students make up more than 70 percent of the student body at the school, and some black students expressed the feeling of being outnumbered.
But Hill said fights are extremely unusual for San Bernardino High School. She said most of the fighting Tuesday was not race-related.
“The fighting occurred along all racial lines,” Hill said. “There were brown kids fighting brown kids. Black kids fighting black kids. Girls fighting girls.”
The first of Tuesday’s two pep rallies for tonight’s homecoming basketball game went off without a hitch, Hill said. The fight occurred during the second pep rally. But the school’s corridors and recreation areas were quiet for the rest of the day, she added.
Hill said there will be increased security at the school for as long as necessary.
“We don’t anticipate any more problems,” she said. “We know that our schools are safe. Actually, San Bernardino High School has a very good history of having a peaceful campus.”
San Bernardino High School is not the only school to have violence on campus among students. A fight at Pacific High broke out on Oct. 13 — the same day a riot occurred at Fontana High School that involved 500 students.
Since then, the Fontana school district has added an anonymous tip line, hired an intervention specialist, and made student-identification badges a requirement starting in mid-February.
Hill said San Bernardino’s district is working to smooth out tensions with a peer-leadership program and a student youth summit that involved students from every high school in San Bernardino City Unified.
“They were brought together at a student youth summit to discuss strategies to improve communication,” Hill said. “We’re equipping students with those types of skills.”