Some 400 Sylmar students left their classrooms and walked out in unity this morning, trying to put an end to the tensions in the school following a brawl between Latino and African American students.
“There is no racial tension,” said Luis Segundes, a senior who joined a group of students who came out and spoke to the media following the walk out.
“We’re not going to let anybody get hurt,” said another student.
The students gathered at the football field, some sitting in the bleachers holding up signs of support, before returning to the classrooms.
Heavy police presence was visible inside and around the school.
A meeting was held at the school last night and school officials at first did not allow public comment until actor Danny Trejo stood up to complain, “And that’s the problem,” he said. Students were then allowed to speak after Trejo spoke out and voiced their concern. One African American male student said that he has to walk around the school in a group to avoid running into problems.
Students said there was a problem with gangs at the school, but the school principal said he wasn’t sure about that perception and he was organizing a task force of parents and students to look more deeply into the source of incidents. Parents attending were all concerned about safety and wanted to know what precautions the school would be taking.
Pastor Rudy Trujillo, a representative from Communities in Schools, a gang diversion program also attended the meeting with Trejo. “These students are our future,” Trejo said.