Fight Prompts Lockdown at Juvenile Probation Camp in Santa Clarita

Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times, February 7, 2009

A Los Angeles County juvenile probation camp for girls was locked down Friday after two youths and eight staff members were injured in a fight the night before.

The 35-minute fight started about 8:30 p.m. Thursday in a dorm at Camp Kenyon Scudder in Santa Clarita, said Kerri Webb, a Probation Department spokeswoman.

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Camp Scudder is designated for girls with mental health needs and is located next to the county’s only other camp for girls, Camp Joseph Scott. Camp Scudder housed 53 girls at the time of the fight, with a dozen staff on duty, Webb said.

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Webb [Kerri Webb, a Probation Department spokeswoman] said she could not confirm reports from Camp Scudder staff that Thursday’s fight was racially motivated, although she said racial tensions at the camps “are very common, unfortunately.”

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A racially motivated attack at Camp Fred C. Miller in Malibu on Nov. 1 left an 18-year-old with two fused vertebrae in his neck, probation officials said. The victim, who is African American, was attacked by a group of Latino youths.

On Sunday, a camp manager sent an e-mail to probation supervisors warning of escalating racial tensions at other camps, including Afflerbaugh, Holton, Rockey and Munz. He noted that both Afflerbaugh and Holton had recently reported “multiple incidents of fights.”

“Please instruct your staff to remain vigilant and on the alert for racial tension among the minors; and be extra cautious with minors arriving to the facility from these camps,” the e-mail said.

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