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Superintendent Says No Expulsions After Lincoln High School Fight

Photo by Jean Guerrero

San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten speaks at a press conference about a Lincoln High School brawl, March 4, 2016.

San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten said Friday no students will be expelled as a result of a February 26 brawl at Lincoln High School.

“We as a district have committed in our policy and in our actions to a restorative approach,” Marten said in a news conference with local religious leaders. "We stand by our students with love and respect."

The incident sent five students and a school resource officer to the hospital. KPBS media partner 10News reported the officer suffered a head injury after a student jumped him from behind. Four students were pepper sprayed.

Two students were arrested and appeared in juvenile court on Wednesday.

Marten said the decision not to expel anyone is in line with California’s education code. The code says assault on staff members can be dealt with using alternatives to expulsion.

"There's an opportunity to repair harm when harm is caused, when we bring folks together," Marten said.

She said the district's focus is on keeping students in school so that they can continue to have opportunities while learning from any potential mistakes.

"We do not minimize the seriousness of the allegations," Marten said. "We understand how serious it is. And there is a process for that investigation to take place. But in the meantime, we are giving our students access to the education they deserve so that their futures remain bright."

She declined to comment on surveillance video of the fight. San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has said it cannot be released to the public while the investigation is underway.

Bishop George Dallas McKinney, who also spoke at the press conference, said he supported the decision not to expel any students in connection with the brawl.

"We appreciate very much the very positive and courageous position that Superintendent Marten has taken," he said. "There's an alternative to destruction."

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