By Cheryl Brown
The current racial conflict at Cajon High School is reminiscent of the schools beginning as the Red Mountain Boys lined up outside the campus threatening Black students as they tried to attend.
On Tuesday parents and students angrily addressed the San Bernardino Board of Education about the brewing racial problems that parents believe threaten to destroy the campus.
At issue is the growing population of students who belong to White racist groups and Black gangs coupled with an administration eager to quell the students.
Parents, Black and White and Brown, told the board that no one is safe. There have reportedly been fights caused by students wearing race baiting clothing.
Parent Rickey Brown said you have to do something before somebody dies." The passionate parents said that their children were sent home for their own protection. "Why is it the good kids have to go home?," several parents asked.
"On Thursday things were so heavy you could feel the tension, said the parents. The kids engaged in a face off staring each other down again on Friday. The face off was lightened when a group of break-dancers went through their maneuvers.
Danny Best was suspended Tuesday, accused, he said, of being the leader of the White gang. "I just came from San Bernardino High School, where I was in ROTC. I never had a racial problem there and most of the school is African American," said Best.
"I am not a member of a gang. Ive only been there for three weeks now I have only three options, go to Sierra Continuation School, go to another District or have home schooling. I feel I have been targeted because I am friends with Richard Pena, (the student who ran away to Las Vegas with a teacher.)
Four student body leaders spoke eloquently of the situation explaining to the Board that there is a problem but they are planning a Unity Summit next Monday. Parents raised their voices to say the administration put the students up to speaking.
The students assured Black Voice News that was not the case. Eric Spencer said, "we went to the teachers meeting and told them what we were going to do and they said it was a good idea," said Spencer.
Isabel Seward said there are 2700 students and only about 100 students are affected by the current disturbance. "I feel safe. The majority of students are united and we dont have a huge problem.
There were 600 kids at lunch today (Tuesday) and there was no tension. BSU President Arron Patty said two students had a bad run in. It wasnt a fight but other students egged them on. "As seniors we are trying to set an example. We are insightful enough to help ourselves," said Patty.
Ralph Vildosola, also a senior said, We are holding a Unity Forum to breakdown stereotypes, to bring people together to understand each other," he said.
"We dont want the hate to escalate," said Spencer.
Board President Tony Dupre said, "I have three kids at Cajon, would I send my kids there if we didnt feel it was safe?" This angered the parents who stood up chiding him and because they couldnt speak again.
Danny Tillman suggested the district look into a mediator to go in and work with the various factions at the school to bring harmony to the campus. The board members agreed each felt that it was a problem that would be addressed immediately.
Best, said the escalation took place when an administrator on the school campus misread a White Power emblem. Students are not allowed to wear Independent White Pride, Flesh Gear or Stars and Stripes tee shirts.
"They said we couldnt wear those emblems and tee shirts and the students rebelled. One White boy wore a black tee shirt to school and set it on fire," said Best. The students said they were getting even for the mistake on the emblem.
One parent, Isabels mother, said she believes it stems from the home and that this area is known to have a high concentration of White Supremacists groups.
School Police Chief Underwood, said he agreed, " it stems from the home they get the background for what they learn at home." He said his office will investigate all complaints but not crimes that are not related to the district.
Linda Hill, spokesperson for the district said the district is confident that theyll be able to maintain a safe school environment in all district schools. They will look at the issues of race and work toward finding a peaceful resolution.
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