Tensions Rise At Digital Harbor High Between African-American & Latino Students
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Racial tensions erupt both inside and outside of Digital Harbor High School in Federal Hill over the past week. Now school officials and the police are coming together to try to put an end to the violence. Students say the feud is between African- Americans and Latinos.
Meghan McCorkell has more on the actions being taken.
Tuesday night, parents were called to a meeting with police and school officials to try to curb fears. Police increased patrols outside Digital Harbor High School after tensions between students boil over.
“There were some problems between students, and that’s what started everything,” said Jose Dominguez, student.
Dominguez says his fellow classmates are scared to walk the halls after two students were attacked last week after school.
“You could feel something bad was going on,” he said.
The strain has now moved inside the school.
“It’s like segregation. Hispanic kids stay on one side. The African-Americans stay on the other,” said Sevi Chaplin, a student at the school. “They’ve been breaking out into fights, riots, everything else.”
Some parents are so fearful they’ve kept their kids home.
“I didn’t send mine back Monday or Tuesday, yesterday or today. No, I didn’t,” said concerned mother Kisha Jackson.
Frightened for his life, tenth-grader Ali Majeki is on edge. He says he has to constantly watch his back in school. He said the diversity divide is the talk of the halls.
“Every teacher is walking and talking about this situation,” Majeki said.
A few students say it escalated between African-Americans and Latinos after the murder of a former Mexican student, 15-year-old Oscar Torres.
Even though Majeki is not Latino, his older brother has been holding him out of school.
“He didn’t go to school today and yesterday for safety concerns,” his brother said.
Anabel Dominguez says she wants the school to come up with solutions for the issue before it gets even bigger.
Tuesday night, school leaders, security officers and city police came together to discuss their response to the violence.
It’s a move the mayor says is a step in the right direction.
“You have to confront it. You can’t pretend that it doesn’t exist,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
Parents say some of the subjects discussed in the meeting have calmed some of their fears.
“They are going to work with more cultural diversity in the classroom with the students, more community involvement with the community, with the school,” said Michelle Smalls, parent.
Students were also asked to take a pledge called “Stop Hatin, No Mas”— vowing to put an end to the violence.
Police say they will continue to beef up patrols around the school until the end of the school year.
School officials released a statement saying, in part, they are “working proactively with students, parents, police and community partners to reinforce the expectation that students treat each other with respect.”
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