A violent brawl broke out on Monday at Sylmar High School in San Fernando Valley. Something like 40 students threw punches. School officials say gang members initiated the fight, according to the Los Angeles Times, but there doesn’t appear to be an official account.
On Wednesday, the community held a meeting to discuss the fight. However, the meeting didn’t provide the students a platform to speak out. That is, until Danny Trejo got involved, ABC 7 reports. The actor behind Trejo’s Tacos stood up and told the school they aren’t doing enough listening. “You’re not listening to them,” he said. “They’ll come up here and tell you. That’s who we should be talking to. Parents and them.”
With these words, the format of the meeting changed, and students voiced their concerns to the crowd. Black students said they feel unsafe on campus and that they have to walk in groups. The population Sylmar, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, is mostly Latino with 2,157 students. There are 72 black students, 44 white students, and 30 who are Asian or Pacific Islander. During the meeting Trejo called out the school’s administration and said, “I’m so fed up — I’m sorry … I know you guys are doing such a good job. But you know what? You’ve got your heads in the sand,” he continued. “You have a black – brown situation … you either got to let everybody go or arrest a couple of people.” Trejo has no connection to the school.
While some students scoff at the school’s explanation of gangs violence and say the real reason culprit is racial tension within the student body, the police has decided race played no factor. “What happened on Monday we would all agree is an unacceptable occurrence,” Superintendent Michelle King said to a crowd of students and parents at Wednesday’s meeting, according to NBC Los Angeles.
On Thursday, some students walked out of their classes at about 9:15 a.m. to disprove that there’s a race problem at the school. “As you can see, we’re all different colors, but we’re family,” said student Sebastian Cooks, according to KTLA. “Sylmar as a whole, a unit. We’re all family.”