Students at Sylmar High School walked out of class on Thursday to promote unity and protest a brawl that occurred earlier in the week.
On Monday, a huge fight broke out during lunch time at Sylmar High School. Twelve police officers, backed up by a supervisor, were dispatched by L.A. Unified School Police in order to try and break up the fight.
Students of Sylmar posted videos to YouTube and Twitter. A lot of the videos were removed from YouTube due to the violent subject, but some videos showing edited versions can still be found.
Originally, various publications reported that the Sylmar High School brawl was due to racial tension within the school, but a great deal of the students have come forward to refute that claim.
During the walk-out on Thursday, students held up signs addressing the media and stating “it’s not about race.”
Hundreds of Sylmar High School students walked out of school together, chanting with their arms interlocked and calling for unity among the students.
“It was no race war, nothing like that. It was a typical fight,” Sebastian Cooks, a senior at the high school, told the L.A. Times. “Sylmar is a good school.”
Many of the students expressed the feeling that they were not safe in school. Several of the videos showing Monday’s brawl makes it obvious as to why. It shows police officers trying to break up the fight and being mostly ignored by the children involved. Boys got pulled away from their victims and ran around the officer to go right back to striking out.
That’s not the only reason for the students to remain scared while attending school.
If it wasn’t about race, what caused the violence to break out?
Several students told various news sources that they saw people not affiliated with Sylmar High School jumping the fence and attacking their fellow classmates. Those people were identified as possible gang members.
Students participating in the walk-out urged their classmates to return to school. They indicated a belief that the only way to end the fear in Sylmar was for the students and faculty to remain united.
The principal of Sylmar High School told students at the rally that he supported their protest.
“You guys are handling this very well,” Principal James Lee told students. “You are acting better than adults on this.”
The peace rally came on the heels of a community meeting held on Wednesday to discuss the violence that occurred earlier in the week.
During the community meeting, school administrators discussed what their plan of action was and how they intended to deal with the students involved, but they didn’t initially allow parents or students of Sylmar High School to speak.
In attendance was actor Danny Trejo, known for his action roles.
Although Danny Trejo has no immediate connection to Sylmar High School, he is an active member of the community it’s a part of. He scolded the administrators.
“You’re not listening to them,” Trejo said according to FOX News. “They’ll come up with the solution.”
After Trejo’s speech, the administrators allowed the students and parents affiliated with Sylmar High School to speak and learned that many of them did not feel comfortable at school anymore.
“We have to walk around in groups at school because we don’t feel safe,” Shane Bennett, a student, told administrators.
The Sylmar High School principal took the worries of his students to heart, according to ABC 7.
“I think we really need to dig deeper and identify what’s behind all this,” Lee said
[Photo by YouTube]