Glendale Unified School Superintendent Under Fire Over Student Brawl at HS

October 08, 2018 - 3:48 pm
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GLENDALE (CNS) - The superintendent of the Glendale Unified School District today criticized "misinformation and rumors" being spread about the origins of a student brawl at Hoover High School, but said the district is still working to determine exactly what prompted the melee.

The fight erupted around 1 p.m. Wednesday at the school at 651 Glenwood Road. Video posted online showed what appeared to be dozens of students taking part in the fracas, with some throwing punches. Police and school officials said no injuries were reported, and students returned to classes around 1:50 p.m.

The students were later released on what the school district called a scattered schedule.

On the campus Monday, a group of parents met with school administrators to discuss the brawl, but GUSD Superintendent Winfred B. Roberson Jr. issued a statement critical of people spreading what he called "a lot of misinformation and rumors" both in the media and online.

"Spreading unsubstantiated rumors heightens anxiety and fear," he said. "That is unfortunate and counterproductive."

Roberson insisted in his statement that discipline had been meted out to students involved in the incident, although he did not provide specifics. He denied the suggestion that the "entire football team" was suspended or disciplined or that the school's football season had been canceled.

Additional security was on hand at the campus Monday, he said.

Some media reports emerging since the brawl suggested that the fight began when a student allegedly spit at a special-needs student, prompting members of the school's football team to step in and defend the special-needs student.

Some parents told reporters the brawl may have been the result of tensions between the school's large Armenian student population and the generally black or Latino football student-athletes. KTLA5 reported from the campus Monday that two factions of students involved in the brawl were being kept in separate rooms.

One parent told reporters a threatening message had been posted online after the fight suggesting that non-Armenian students at the school would be shot. Roberson said, however, that there "have been no further credible threats against the campus," insisting the campus was safe.

Roberson said he could not give specifics about disciplinary actions taken by the school because of "due process and privacy rights of students and staff."

"Speculation about any motives and triggers for this altercation are very premature," Roberson said. "The district is still gathering all of the facts and interviewing witnesses to the incident to determine exactly how and why this occurred. If warranted, additional appropriate disciplinary steps will be taken once that review has been completed.

"This was a serious situation and the district is taking it very seriously," Roberson said. "GUSD is working collaboratively with all responsible stakeholders to address the underlying circumstances and perceptions that may have contributed to the incident.

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."