Flare-up between Black and Latino Youths
Several weeks of racial tension among students attending Denton Middle School’s lessons culminated in a confrontation between black and Latino students on April 24, at the corner of River and 25th streets, just three blocks from the school.
Six juveniles and one adult were cited on misdemeanor charges, while one adult was booked on a felony charge, which was later dropped for lack of evidence.
The misdemeanor charges are still pending.
“I’d been notified almost daily by the assistant vice principal at Denton Middle School of imminent trouble”, said Denton Police Officer Steven Parks, who made the arrests and is assigned to patrol the schools in the Mission District. “This whole summer session there’d been unrest between blacks and Latinos.”
Parks added that racial friction had been more severe this summer than during the school year because middle school students from throughout the school district were attending the short-term session together.
“There were so many students from outside of the area,” Parks said. “They didn’t know each other, so there isn’t as much time to identify the problem children”. Parks also noted that similar tension had been occurring during Mission High School.
The newspaper was unable to reach an administrator at the school because she was too busy with children but contacted Police Inspector Cameron Lang.
According to Lang, what specifically triggered the clash remains fuzzy.
“One witness said it was about something incredibly minor—two kids bumping into each other on the playground,” Lang said. “It’s often hard to find a reason for these situations. Sometimes it’s unclear even to the participants.”
“Most of them can’t even tell you why they hate each other.” added Parks.
Shortly before 11:30 p.m. 20 black students finished the class for the day and boarded the Muni bus at the corner of River and 25th streets.