Parents of students at Saugus High School met at the Boys and Girls Club in Newhall on Tuesday to discuss safety issues following a string of, what they say, are racially motivated incidents.
The parents claim that their children are being targeted by a group of students that are threatening to harm them with physical violence.
Gail Pinkser, Hart District Public Relations Officer, confirmed to Cougar News that Saugus High School reported two fights on Monday between students. In an email to Cougar News, Pinsker said the conflict began with an altercation between two groups of students at the Saugus football game on Friday.
Monday during lunch hour at Saugus High, a student claimed to be eating his lunch when he was approached by another student. The victim claims that student punched him, knocking out two of his teeth.
The school has taken disciplinary action against both students and sheriff’s investigation is also underway. The Hart District maintains that the two fights were not racially motivated.
“On a campus of over 2,500 students the administration knows that they will contend with a few of these [altercations] over the course of a school year,” Pinsker said. “The school staff takes each case very seriously and works hard to resolve issues to a peaceful outcome.”
Saugus High Principle Bill Bolde said in a statement: “We stand behind the safety of our students on campus. We are proud of the programs we have in place that promote respect and tolerance on campus … all students attend the Museum of Tolerance, we offer the SHARE program each year (Stop Hatred and Respect Everyone), and the Safe School Ambassador program is a mainstay on campus. These are just a few examples of how we foster an atmosphere of global respect and safety on campus. It is important that students can learn and socialize in a safe and comfortable school environment.”
Parents, on the other hand, claim that the altercation turned racial when a few students continued the dispute via Twitter. During the meeting, pictures of the tweets were displayed and one of the tweets referred to the race of the targeted students. Pinsker points out that the student who made the derogatory comment on Twitter is not a student at Saugus High School, nor is he a student-athlete at any school within the Hart District.
A cousin of the student who was punched on Monday alleged that one of the members of the group threatened to physically harm him next.