Teens Loot, Vandalize in Protest of Principal’s Departure
HAWTHORNE, Calif. (AP) _ Scores of police officers in riot gear helped calm hundreds of teen-agers who hurled bottles, looted a store and vandalized cars during a protest against what they said were racist school hiring policies.
Six teen-agers were arrested and one minor injury was reported Monday, said police Sgt. John Beerling.
The demonstration was held in support of Hawthorne High School Principal Ken Crowe, who recently announced his resignation because he was going to be reassigned.
Crowe, who is black, has accused the school board of failing to support his attempts to rid the school of racial harassment.
A racially mixed crowd of about 400 students from Leuzinger High School in Lawndale left classes in the morning and marched more than a mile to Hawthorne High School, 15 miles from downtown Los Angeles. The schools are in the same district.
″During the march, the students became unruly and began rioting,″ Beerling said. He added that damage was confined to a few broken windows and dented fenders.
″We went there peacefully to try to stop the racism,″ said Monica Fritsch, a 16-year-old Leuzinger student. ″Then the gangs started fighting. ... We know the schools are cross-town rivals, but we were trying to forget about that.″
About 100 police officers herded many of the protesters onto the school football field, where officials heard their complaints of discriminatory hiring practices, Sgt. Mike Effler said. The students were later bused back to their school.
Officer Kathy Burnett said the students were arrested on misdemeanor violations that included disorderly conduct and were released to their parents.
One merchant along the march route complained that students had vandalized his shop. Ted Shin said more than 100 teen-agers rushed into his convenience store and stole merchandise.