PGCPS High School aiming to ease racial tensions after brawl

still1219_00020_1482206468824_2454322_ver1-0_640_360-1CAPITOL HEIGHTS, MD (WUSA9) – A special student advisory team that will deal with cultural conflicts is being formed at Central High School after a cafeteria brawl Friday that pitted African-American students against Latino students.

The brawl was caught on video and resulted in three students being treated at a hospital for minor injuries.  No charges have been filed.

Many African-American students who spoke to WUSA9 said race played no role in the brawl. However, a reluctant Latino student said he sometimes feels intimidated at the school.

According to a robo-call and email being sent to Central parents Tuesday night, the student advisory team will work with Principal Keisha Wallace to help develop a positive school climate while administrators work with the school system’s Diversity Office on further measures.  Additional staff will be assigned to monitor lunch hours, the principal announced.

The following statement was released by Prince George’s County Public Schools:

“Prince George’s County Public Schools officials are aware of last week’s incident at Central High School. We are working with school administrators to maintain a school environment that respects others’ cultural differences and addresses any safety concerns.

Principal Keishia Wallace called students’ homes this afternoon and sent an electronic message to families that addresses the incident and next steps. Additional school staff has been assigned to the cafeteria during lunch periods. School staff will be working in partnership with the PGCPS Diversity Office to maintain a positive school climate. The principal is also creating a student advisory team comprised of diverse voices. A letter will be sent home with all students tomorrow emphasizing this message.

We are focused now on alleviating student and parent concerns. Every effort will be made to keep students safe and support a welcoming learning environment for all students.” 

The following message was sent home to parents by Central High School:

“On Friday, December 16, a student fight occurred in the cafeteria during lunch. The incident originated as a food fight, but became physical, resulting in injuries to a few students. Staff and security personnel were stationed in the cafeteria at the time as part of our daily routine. Additional support was immediately extended by School Security and other school staff members to intervene and resume lunch service to all students.

An investigation is ongoing. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken in accordance with the guidelines of the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.  The safety of scholars is paramount and all efforts will be taken to maintain a school environment that is conducive to the highest levels of student learning.

As a school community, we are committed to maintaining a learning environment that encourages respect for all, regardless of cultural differences. The Prince George’s County Public Schools Diversity Office and other central office supports  are partnering with Central in this effort. Additionally, a Principal’s Student Advisory Team, made up of a diverse group of students, will be created to ensure student voices are heard.”

via WUSA9image

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