Posted on November 14, 2011

Role of Race in School Fights Downplayed

Travis Fain, Winston-Salem Journal, November 11, 2011

School and police officials said this week that last month’s fights at Parkland High School weren’t racially motivated, but warrants in the case repeatedly mention race, describing two small groups of black and Hispanic students facing off.

One warrant, filed by Parkland School Resource Officer Kraig Sandell, describes a “Hispanic group confronting the African-American group.”

Another arrest warrant accuses a Hispanic student of “provoking African-American students to engage in a physical confrontation,” and another says a Hispanic student was “attempting to engage in a physical altercation with African-American students.”

Other warrants accuse at least two black students of “provoking Hispanic students to react with violence” or “attempting to fight and provoke Hispanic students in the hallway.”

The latter is an accusation against Wayne Anthony Cameron Jr., who was charged with affray, a misdemeanor, after the Oct. 27 fights that brought dozens of officers to the school.

Cameron, 17, told the Journal that his fight started when he bumped into a group of Hispanic students in the hall.

Cameron said the student told him they were going to “whoop y’alls’ black a–.”

“It was just’cause I’m black, I guess,” Cameron said.

When Sandell and Principal Tim Lee laid out the details of the fights Monday during a two-hour meeting with parents, they acknowledged that the fights were between black and Hispanic groups, but said race wasn’t a motivating factor.


Sandell said his brief descriptions in the warrants were meant to describe the situation, not to relay any sense that race sparked the fights.

“You can’t explain everything in just a couple of sentences,” Sandell said. “That’s how (the students) divided up … that’s their friends.


There were also rumors that someone would shoot up the school in the week after the fight, something the school and police took seriously and brought in extra officers to investigate.


Parkland’s student body is about 50 percent black and 28 percent Hispanic.