Port Arthur Parents Concerned About Race Wars In School

Sharon Brooks, Examiner (Beaumont, Texas), May 1, 2007

Parents of students involved in a fight at Memorial 9th Grade School say they were kicked off campus after trying to get answers about the fight between a group of Hispanic students and a group of African-American students that happened this morning.

A group of Hispanic parents and other concerned citizens gathered at the PAISD Administration Building on 5th Street in Port Arthur after the parents were kicked off the campus. The group forced a meeting to get answers from PAISD officials about the fight and the race issues they feel caused the fight.

According to Elida Resendez, an undetermined number of black students attacked three boys and one girl, all Hispanic. Resendez said this is the latest of numerous attacks on Hispanic students by blacks at Port Arthur schools.

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During the impromptu meeting, Munoz spoke to Dr. Morcease Beasley, spokesperson for PAISD.

“Just because many of us cannot speak English, we can’t get anything done,” Munoz told Beasley.

Beasley responded that the issue was not about race and that the parents should look at the individuals involved rather than the race of those individuals.

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Marcos Oceguera was one of the boys who were attacked. Oceguera said the fight started before school at around 7:15 a.m.

“It was before the first bell,” Oceguera remembered. “We were just standing around, hanging out. Then these black kids, all hyped up, started coming up to us. They started hitting and jumping everybody. There were lots of them. They grabbed me and pushed me into a corner. Then, lots of them started hitting me.”

Oceguera said this is not an isolated incident and that blacks and Hispanics often fight at his school.

Beasley agreed that the fighting between the two groups has been going on for some time.

“There is some concern by various groups over the fighting between different cultures,” Beasley said. “We thought we had addressed the problem. Today was just a day when two groups of students of different cultures broke out into a fight. We hear parents’ concerns. They have concerns about the principal. We ask that they put these concerns in writing, a letter or something, and we will follow up on those concerns.

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