Officials: LA school brawl not racially motivated

By the Associated Press | March 7, 2012 | 11:25 PM EST

CARSON, Calif. (AP) — A brawl involving dozens of students that left eight students injured at a Los Angeles-area high school wasn't fueled by conflict between black and Latino students, contrary to initial reports from authorities, school district officials and police said Wednesday night.

"Descriptions of these fights as racially motivated have not been substantiated," LA schools police Chief Steven Zimmerman said in a statement on the melee at Carson High School earlier in the day. "This campus has no current racial issues."

Principal Windy Warren said student leaders at the ethnically diverse campus of more than 3,000 students assured her of the same thing.

"This is a very unusual incident for the Carson campus, which has been very peaceful this entire school year," she said.

At least 30 students traded punches and kicks in a series of fights that erupted in a campus courtyard during a 10 a.m. snack break, said Monica Carazo, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

School police, with assistance from sheriff's deputies, quelled the disturbance.

The brawl left eight students injured, Warren said. Four were taken to hospitals and four were treated by the school nurse. The extent of the injuries of the hospitalized students was not clear.

Seven students were arrested or suspended, the principal said.

The district said in a statement that despite earlier reports, investigators couldn't substantiate that the Wednesday melee at Carson High School was brought on by racial conflict.

Schools police Chief Steven Zimmerman says the ethnically diverse campus of more than 3,000 students "has no current racial issues."

Officials say at least 30 students traded kicks and punches in a quad during a morning snack break before school police and sheriff's deputies intervened.

Principal Windy Warren says eight students were injured, four of them taken to a hospital and the rest treated on campus. She says seven students were arrested or suspended.

The school was placed on modified lockdown with students confined to their classrooms, but they were allowed to go to lunch and were dismissed at the usual time.