Racial tensions spill onto streets
Violence rises between Silverado students
Gretchen Losi December 15, 2006
VICTORVILLE — Racially motivated violence between black and Hispanic students at Silverado High School is overflowing from the campus onto the neighboring streets.
Principal Tracy Marsh said that although there’s been a decrease of major issues on the campus this year, the conflicts are alive and well — and finding their way to the streets after school.
“As we stop problems on the campus, where are they going to go? They go off campus, and we see them from a distance and wonder, ‘What do we do here guys?’ ” Marsh said. “My heart goes out to the residents there. I’m sure it’s not something they thought about when they bought their house.”
The problem is racial and stems from a small group of about 75 students, Marsh said.
“I’ll be doggone if I’m going to let these 75 kids mess things up for us. If we could just tap them and get rid of them, then the issues would be gone,” Marsh said. “We know who they are. When the opportunity comes, they’re out of here.”
Jason Dougherty, a Cobalt Road resident, lives two blocks from the school. He said for about 45 minutes a day his neighborhood shifts from a quiet existence to a war zone.
“We become infested with gang-bangers. We’ve seen brutal fights and total disregard for our homes, cars and families,” Dougherty said. “It’s like something straight out of South Central.”
Cindi Jamison, also a Cobalt Road resident, said she has seen cars get keyed and spit on, lawns get trampled and figurines smashed. Her husband has broken up fights, stopped older students from trying to steal the bikes of younger students at neighboring schools and the couple have woken up to find graffiti on cement walls on more than one occasion.
Unfortunately, Marsh said, there’s not much school officials can do. Once the students are off campus, they are out of the school’s jurisdiction. He said when dealing with 3,600 students being let out of school at one time, there is no quick fix. Letting smaller groups or grades out at different times is not an option but they are working with local agencies.
He has requested a stronger presence of law enforcement and said the Citizens on Patrol are also policing the area.
Marsh said the problem is one facing our society as a whole, not just Silverado.
“It’s happening at the mall ... in the neighborhoods. It’s happening all over. They’re fighting in the community on a Saturday and on Sunday,” Marsh said. “It’s not fair to say it’s a school issue.”