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Students Challenge Perceptions of Lincoln High School After Fight

San Diego's Lincoln High School is pictured in this undated photo.
San Diego Unified School District
San Diego's Lincoln High School is pictured in this undated photo.

Students Challenge Perceptions of Lincoln High School After Fight
San Diego Police Investigating Fight At Lincoln High School GUESTS:Vernon Moore, Office of Youth Advocacy, San Diego Unified School District Tasha Williamson, director of the center for community cohesion, National Conflict Resolution Center Emmanuel Iheke, senior, Lincoln High School

Right now we turn to another subject, the San Diego unified school board will hear from parents of Lincoln high students tonight this is about a violent incident on campus on Friday. One school police officer was taken to the hospital after allegedly being jumped behind by a student. Police say during the altercation a student was used by the officer and ultimately to students were arrested on assault charges. The incident has raised questions about the role school police on campus. Joining me is Vernon Moore, Office of Youth Advocacy, San Diego Unified School District Executive Director. Welcome to the program. Take a for this opportunity. And Tasha Williamson is here she is the director for the community for -- the Center for community cohesion they have work closely with Lincoln high for the last year. Tosha welcome to the program. Emanuel, can you say your lesson for me, he is a senior at Lincoln high school and he is joining us as well. 's Stephanie Bell Trump is also a senior at high school and she is here to support an annual. Thank you for having me two. What you know about what happened on Friday? Certainly the event that happened during the lunchtime at Lincoln high school was in -- was an unfortunate event. I am to understand that it was preceded by some students essentially force plane, I think it was called slap boxing and playing around. That was getting out of hand and some of the adults intervened and were directing the students to stop because it looks like it was escalating into a real fight. And then there were some students that broke away from that initial disturbance and were in the parking lot of Lincoln high school and that's where the school police officer assigned to the school went into the parking lot area and pursuit -- in pursuit of some students and that of the altercation. Ultimately resulted in a student being tazed with further please respond to more officers responding and some students being pepper sprayed. I think the school police officer was taken to hospital as well as for students. Emmanuel Iheke, is that what students are saying as well? I am not in a position to say what happened because I was not there. And as far as I know there's still an investigation going on. For anyone to necessarily say what happened, that is unnecessary. From what you have been hearing, from the students, it is in the same line with what Vernon just said? I try not to ask. How is the school police officer? The last report I heard he did spend some Knights in the hospital that he is at home and recovering. Is the only of the investigation is underway? I don't know the exact terminology, I know he has not reported back to work, but I know he is at home recovering. Tosha I know you have been talking to students, what are they saying In all actuality students have been organizing and the two students that we had here, Emmanuel Iheke and Stephanie have been a part of that organization. Students really don't have all of the information . So students was organized to make sure that they are sending a positive message about what is going on at Lincoln right now. And a positive message about the restorative work that they have worked really hard to create at that campus. So moving forward, I think students are being empowered to organize so that their voices are heard and it is positive. This is student led, it is student-based, and it is really saying that the students are coming together. So, Emmanuel Iheke, is the main thrust of this divine justice in this situation? Or is it to promote the good name of Lincoln high? I would personally say that I am more concerned about the negative portrayal that we have on Lincoln high school in the media. Have not Friday was a very unfortunate event. At the same time, rather than bask in this situation, we have to organize as many students as we can to come up with different ideas to benefit our community and school. Okay, so the idea of actually was at fault is secondary to what the public perception is of Lincoln high? In my opinion, I would say so. But I cannot speak for everyone here at the end of the day, the investigation is still going on and it's up to our justice system. At the same time, while we can do right now is actually talk about what we can do to whether or not we are going to keep this from happening again stop the negative portrayal of Lincoln high school in the media. So Vernon, in a statement, the ACLU is raising questions actually about the role of police on campus. From your perspective, why is it important for Lincoln to have campus security? In San Diego unified school District there are school police officers assigned to all of our high school campuses. They had been an integral part of our system. These are specially trained law enforcement officers that go through training and ongoing training on how to deal with students and how to de-escalate the set -- de-escalate situations. As long as it is part of the school district, which has been 21 years, we have always had school police officers assigned to a campuses. They are an integral part of our work. They work side-by-side with us in making sure our campuses are say. Another question raised as a pet that there's only one police officer. There are questions about whether there should be? And then because there's only one police officer, that lead to a situation where police officer feels overwhelmed and overreacts? I am certain of the numbers and officers assigned to campuses is something that is certainly debated. But the structure that we have now for high school campuses is one officer assigned to campus. Tasha, apparently this is the second time this officer has tazed a student which has been reported in the press. Is that ways -- if that is backed, does that raise a question for you? I don't know that is backed there are different investigations to what is going on in every situation. From my perspective, I would hope that we change the way incidents occur that we get more restorative practice and restorative justice programming embedded in the school district and the school that we have the backing and support of the school district, Cindy Marten, an area superintendent. Not just conversations. Also going out and saying that they are heavily supported -- set heavily supportive -- heavily supportive of his staff and the school administration. There are school district people that they are supporting NAR supporting restorative practice -- and they are supporting restorative practices. We are here to say that we support the district, the staff, the students, the parents. Me ask you, with what happened at Lincoln high school yesterday, he led sessions about we had students talking about their feelings. The feelings that were raised What was yesterday like? I believe for students and the community, yesterday was very intense. People got to express and their voices were heard. Were able to come together in a unified way to express about Friday and how they wanted to move forward from Friday. What did you get out of the sessions yesterday, Emmanuel Iheke ? What really stood out to me is that I know I serve a God who could turn something so terrible into something so great and yesterday I saw kids and I met kids that I did not know on that campus yesterday. I saw them come together and talk about their feelings and actually unite. It was beautiful to see. So I saw God turn something so terrible into something great. Stephanie will kind of feelings and emotions did you hear released during the circles that you had yesterday about what happened on Friday? There were many emotions. But I feel one of the biggest emotions I heard is that they want to change. They wanted people to hear their voice. Lincoln has been in the shadows for so long and has been portrayed by the media not that great. Yesterday we are united as a community and a family. We are ready to be heard. We are ready to make the changes. In one news report, Emmanuel Iheke, one student said : this makes Lincoln high cell like a bad school. Lincoln high school is not a bad school and it's hard to say that and have someone believe you because you have to understand that the news is pretty much what people see. That's all they see. Until people actually take accountability to fact check everything that they hear, that's how it will stay. So I would encourage people before the judge Lincoln, before they say anything about Lincoln, experience it first experience healthy San Diego as a whole before we jump to conclusions because it was really upsetting to see all of the negative comments that were sent about our school calling us cave-ins, bugs, gang members for wearing school colors, all on social media and these are people that I can guarantee have never been to the school. But they automatically make the conclusions based upon what they are the media without understanding that the media feeds off of negativity because negativity is ratings. Now the parents, a lot of parents or at least some parents of Lincoln high heaven open session tonight before the San Diego unified school board, Tasha. They can come to the unified school board and they can voice their concerns . You have been speaking, you have been there at Lincoln high for a long time, what kind of concerns do you expect to be aired tonight? I think peers are saying the same thing the students are saying. Lincoln is positive there a lot of professionals in San Diego that came in from other parts of the city that come from Lincoln high school. Again this portrayal of Lincoln, we talked about the #that's not the real Lincoln, what you see right now when Emmanuel Iheke and Stephanie and Vernon Moore, this is the real Lincoln. Left thousands of students on this campus and one incident cannot portray what an entire school with 1400 students is. Those parents that are attached to them, these parents love their kids. They love the school. They love their community. They have not been giving -- they have not been given the proper tools and support needed to change. We hope that from this they are given that support so they can thrive at Lincoln high school and in a community loved by many people. And finally, Vernon, what is the district going to do to your knowledge to help Lincoln I move forward after this incident? Really, in terms of youth advocacy and restorative practices, we have been working with Lincoln for well over a year. Tosha has been part of that. We have part of a restorative practices team that has been training at Lincoln high school and the next iteration is to continue this work on youth voice and youth empowerment. I think, just as Stephanie, Emanuel and Tasha are indicating, when the voices are heard and the empowerment begins that's when the deep rooted and deep-seated changes can be made so that the community feels good about the efforts that we are doing at Lincoln high school. That will be our focus. To provide opportunities and forms and support for the students to ensure that we hear their voice, and that the next steps lead to everyone feeling safe and having this wonderful environment continue at Lincoln high school. I have been speaking with Vernon Moore, Tasha Williamson , Emmanuel Iheke and Stephanie. Thank you for coming in and speaking with us here [ Music ]

On Monday classes at Lincoln High School were suspended to give students a chance to share their feelings following a brawl that took place on campus Friday. The fight led five students and a campus security officer to be taken to the hospital.

Lincoln High School senior Emmanuel Iheke said the social media reactions to the fight unfairly depicted students there as thugs and gang members. He challenged anyone who passed judgement on the incident to “experience southeast San Diego as a whole before we jump to conclusions.”

The San Diego Police Department is investigating what happened.

"Two arrests have been made for the assault on the School Police Officer and more arrests are expected in the near future," according to a police department press release published Monday night. "Video evidence have been reviewed and once the investigation is completed, it, along with all evidence will be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office for review."

KPBS media partner 10News reported one of the students arrested is the son of San Diego rapper Brandon Duncan who goes by the name "Tiny Doo." Duncan made headlines in 2015 after he was jailed on a gang conspiracy charge over his rap lyrics. A judge tossed the case out. Duncan said he plans to meet with San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten to get his son cleared.

The American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties released a statement Saturday saying the incident requires investigation into multiple issues, including answering the question, "What is the proper role, if any, of school police officers?"