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Student Protest Turns Into Melee

May 16, 1998

MIAMI (AP) _ Students threw rocks, broke open vending machines, smashed trophy cases and threatened to burn down their high school after a protest against their first-year principal turned into a riot.

Seven students were arrested and charged with fighting, disorderly conduct and inciting a riot Friday. No one was injured.

The event started as a peaceful walkout against Principal Carroll Williams, 53, a former professional football player who is finishing his first year at the 2,300-student school in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, north of Miami.

Students complained that Williams canceled traditional events and forced the transfer of at least a half-dozen staff members.

``We can’t keep our frustrations inside of us any longer,″ said senior Christian Guerrier Jr., 18, who remained outside the school during the fracas.

The protest began during lunch, when about 1,400 students walked out of the school, some calling Williams names. When Williams came out and called for calm, a couple of hundred students ran into the school and began looting.

Students said vending machines were looted and thrown down the stairs, trophy cases were shattered, a trash can was set on fire and a rock was thrown at the windshield of Williams’ pickup truck, cracking it.

Williams was a quarterback for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League in the late 1960s. He went to work for Miami-Dade public schools in November 1971.

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