Several students have been disciplined after shocking footage of what concerned parents called a racially-motivated melee between dozens of teens at a Glendale, California high school.
Students involved in last Wednesday’s brawl at Hoover High School were remanded to separate rooms Monday and spoke little during “restorative circle” sessions with school counselors, according to KTLA.
The fight reportedly erupted during lunch period Wednesday, starting as a dispute between two students and quickly growing to involve dozens. That’s when police arrived to restore order, as the fists continued to fly.
No serious injuries were reported.
Parents said their kids tell them there’s been mounting racial tension on campus between Armenian students, the largest ethnic group at the school, and members the football and baseball teams who are mostly Black and Latino, among other ethnicities.
What exactly sparked the brawl remains a mystery, but parents say an Armenian student allegedly spat on a special needs student who wanted a hug. That’s when another student jumped to his defense, and other students quickly joined in.
“I know a lot of the students are very stressed and they can’t concentrate, and they don’t want to be at school. And what are we supposed to do?” parent Iris Lopez told KTLA. “Our kids are supposed to go to school to get an education, not to worry about getting in a fight or getting jumped.”
The tensions didn’t stop there. According to NBC Los Angeles, threats and trash talk have continued to swirl on social media in the days since the fight, including one Snapchat post that read “whoever it not Armenian we’re going to shoot.” Parents said the chat circulated Thursday night, yet school officials didn’t alert them to it until the following day, one hour before classes started.
“The school is safe and resuming regular instruction…,” Glendale District superintendent Winfred Roberson, Jr., wrote in an email to families, staff and members of the community. “There have been no further threats to the campus.”
In a separate statement, Roberson assured parents the district was taking the matter “very seriously,” but noted that unsubstantiated rumors were causing “heightened,” unnecessary anxiety on campus. One parent, Kirsten Hersh, said she heard the spitting incident was just a fib and that it actually never happened.
Concerned parents met with school leaders Monday to address the violence and threats, while some criticized the district for not doing enough to defuse tensions on campus.
“This is a community issue,” parent Nathan Bond said. “And the parents, the administrators here at the school, and city officials need to work together to fix.”
Parents said multiple students have been suspended since the fight. District officials have assured there’ll be “heightened adult supervision and support” from now on, as well as a more visible police presence on campus.
“GUSD is working collaboratively with all responsible stakeholders to address the underlying circumstances and perceptions that may have contributed to the incident,” Roberson said in a statement. “Regardless of what may have motivated the incident, resorting to violence is never an acceptable option. We appreciate that key parent and student leaders at Hoover are spearheading the effort to help us move forward.”
The fight is still being investigated.
Watch more in the clip below.