GLENDALE (CBSLA) — The head of the Glendale Unified School District says “misinformation and rumors” circulating about the origins of a student brawl at Hoover High School were “counterproductive” as officials continued working Monday to determine the exact cause of the melee.
Authorities haven’t said what sparked the fight that erupted around 1 p.m. on Oct. 3 at the school at 651 Glenwood Road. Video posted online showed what appeared to be dozens of students taking part in the fracas, with some throwing punches.
Students told CBSLA it was a result of ongoing racial tensions between two groups of students, reportedly including members of the football team.
A group of parents met with school administrators Monday to discuss the brawl, but GUSD Superintendent Winfred B. Roberson Jr. issued a statement critical of people spreading what he called “a lot of misinformation and rumors” both in the media and online.
“Spreading unsubstantiated rumors heightens anxiety and fear,” he said. “That is unfortunate and counterproductive.”
According to Roberson, disciplinary measures have been taken for students involved in the fight, but no details were provided. He did deny that the “entire football team” was suspended or disciplined or that the school’s football season had been canceled.
“I’m sad because it’s my son’s last year as a football player, and all this is happening. I am very disappointed in all that,” said parent Maria Mangasarian, appearing to become emotional.
Some parents told reporters the brawl may have been the result of tensions between the school’s large Armenian student population and the generally black or Latino football student-athletes.
“The lack of communication in regards to our children’s safety — that’s the biggest issue for me,” parent Kimberly Jones told CBS2 News. “Bring everyone together, and let’s get to the bottom of this.”
Jones said that when her son got to school on Wednesday morning, another student asked him if he was going to fight. He was not one of the 24 students reportedly suspended in the fallout over the fray.
One parent told reporters a threatening message had been posted online after the fight suggesting that non-Armenian students at the school would be shot. Roberson said, however, that there “have been no further credible threats against the campus,” insisting the campus was safe.
At least one report on social media indicated that hundreds of students were involved and that brass knuckles were used. Another post on Snapchat read, “Whoever’s not Armenian we’re gonna shoot”[.] A group of Armenians yesterday and today in front of the school”.
“It’s like, ‘If you’re not one of us, we’re gonna target you, and that is racial,” insisted Jones.
Roberson said he could not give specifics about disciplinary actions taken by the school because of “due process and privacy rights of students and staff.”
The Glendale Unified School District said no weapons were involved and there were no significant injuries, according to school officers.
Hoover High, Eleanor J. Toll Middle and Mark Keppel Elementary were placed on lockdown as a result of the fight.
Students were eventually released on a staggered schedule as a precaution.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)