22 Aug 2014
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Fight Over Girl Sparks Unrest at Samohi

Police are increasing their patrol of the Santa Monica High School campus after several recent tussles.

Fight Over Girl Sparks Unrest at Samohi

A teenage fight over a girl in front of Tommy's Original Hamburgers—in which one boy whacked another one with a scooter—has prompted other tussles at Santa Monica High School, authorities said.

Prompted by the fights, Samohi is ramping up police presence on and near the campus for the second time since . School administrators will also host a forum for parents Tuesday night to discuss how to keep students safe.

[Related: After Shooting, Samohi Gets Extra Police Presence]

"We have responded by working with our [Santa Monica Police Department] School Resource Officers and by increasing our own security and supervision on and around campus each day," Principal Laurel Fretz told parents in a schoolwide message. "You may notice extra police units on the streets around our campus, before and after school each day."

Each of the fights has involved two rival groups of friends, according to Santa Monica Police Sgt. Richard Lewis.

The first clash occurred after school let out last week. Although not believed to be racially motivated, the fight involved two black minors and two Hispanic minors. At one point during the fight, one of the teenagers picked up a nearby scooter and swung it at another teenager.

"As a result of that fight, there was going to be or was an expulsion," Lewis said.

A girl who was upset that her friend was about to be expelled confronted the other group of kids to ask why they had tattled, Lewis said.

"That caused another campus incident with those groups. ... And then there was a fight on Wednesday involving the same group of kids, or friend of those kids," Lewis said.

Victoria Gray, the mother of , is calling on administrators to be more proactive in preventing these types of incidents.

"Here we go again! Santa Monica High School has been having an increase in the amount of tension between the African American students and the Latino students," she wrote in an email.

Lewis said the recent fights were not racially charged.

"At this moment, we're not attributing it to race," he said, emphasizing that any students caught fighting will be arrested and jailed or otherwise punished appropriately.

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