LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Three students were expelled from Samuel Gompers Middle School in South Los Angeles after a fight in a seventh grade English class involving a knife and a gun, authorities said Thursday.
The fight happened at the school in the 200 block of East 112th Street Wednesday about 2:45 p.m., said Patrick Sinclair, senior director of communications for the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools.
Gompers is one of 22 schools in impoverished parts of the city founded under pressure from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
“Apparently two kids got in an argument near the end of the day and one pulled a knife and the other pulled a gun,” Sinclair said.
Sinclair said that it was not clear what the argument was about. He said there are 20 students in the class “and there are 20 different versions of what they were fighting about.”
As best as he could characterize the fight, one of the students was teasing another.
“The verbal argument escalated and one of the students pulled out a knife and the other pulled a gun from a backpack. The rest of the students panicked and fled as fast as they could. Then the two students involved in the fight fled. One student put the knife back in his pocket and the other dropped the backpack with the gun as he as running.”
Sinclair said that it turned out the backpack belonged to a third student, and all three were turned over to the Los Angeles Police Department and will be expelled.
Partnership schools are in such areas as South Los Angeles, Boyle Heights and Watts. Sinclair said about 17,000 students are in the schools that are in “historically impoverished neighborhoods.”
Security handled the matter in about 20 minutes.
Sinclair said the school does not have metal detectors.
(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)