Principal on leave for alleged anti-Trump comments; student who voiced support for Trump attacked

Donald Trump’s election as president has sparked scattered reports of rancor on California campuses and beyond.

A Muslim college student in San Diego was robbed, and Latino high school students in Northern California were given mock “deportation letters” by a classmate in incidents that authorities believe were tied to the election.

Meanwhile, in the Bay Area, a principal was put on leave after he allegedly made profane anti-Trump comments. The incident occurred at Milpitas High School during a campus walkout, and the principal told the San Jose Mercury News he did nothing wrong.

In the town of Woodside on the San Francisco Peninsula, a video surfaced showing a student being attacked after voicing support for Trump.

In Burbank, a dispute erupted Thursday about 4 p.m. at a bar where two men argued over the election and immigration policy. One of the men brandished a gun, police said.

Officers responded to Joe’s Bar on Magnolia Boulevard and later arrested the two men. Martin Pena, 41, was booked on suspicion of brandishing a firearm, while Mark Van Dergeugten, 47, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to a Burbank police spokesman.

Two men confronted a female student in a parking lot stairwell at San Diego State on Wednesday, “made comments about President-elect Trump and the Muslim community,” and then stole her keys and her car, university police said in a statement.

The university president said the woman was wearing a hijab. She was robbed of her purse and backpack, police said.

In Redding, meanwhile, a student at Shasta High School handed out “deportation letters” to Latino classmates, and a video of the incident was posted on Twitter, said Shasta Union High School District Supt. Jim Cloney, who said he believed the episode was related to Trump’s election.

“Obviously, he thought he was being funny,” Cloney said, adding that the student had not been disciplined, though the school planned to talk to his family. “The students have taken the video down, and that’s not reflective of [how] we want students to treat each other.”

A Muslim student at San Jose State was choked Wednesday when a man approached her from behind in a school parking lot and pulled off her hijab. The college’s Muslim Student Assn. president told the Mercury News that racists and Islamophobes have become emboldened since Trump’s election and that she believes the attack was connected to the election result, though the article provided no evidence of a link.

The university said the attack could be a hate crime, but the investigation was continuing.

“There’s no way to know if it’s related to Trump’s election,” said university spokeswoman Pat Harris.

The incidents came a day after Trump’s surprising electoral victory and highlight the divisiveness of the campaign and the result, which has sparked protests nationwide over the last two days.

During the campaign, Trump railed against illegal immigration, describing arriving Mexicans as rapists and criminals and at one point suggesting that a “deportation force” would corral and deport all immigrants in the country illegally. He also called for a temporary ban on all Muslims entering the country.

In a joint statement Wednesday, the chancellor of the California State University system and the president of the California State Student Assn. reassured students and employees that the college system would continue to support “advancing the rights of our students, faculty and staff.”

“We are unequivocally committed to supporting all members of our community. That is who we are. It is a core strength and part of our DNA,” the statement said.

University of California President Janet Napolitano and school chancellors also released a statement following the election saying in part that the system’s universities would continue to “foster an environment in which all are included.”

“The University of California will continue to pursue and protect these principles now and in the future, and urges our students, faculty, staff and all others associated with the university to do so as well,” the statement said.

In response to the latest incidents and others in preceding weeks, state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris’ office issued a bulletin Thursday encouraging law enforcement throughout the state to remain vigilant for hate crimes.

“We must protect all Californians from acts of hate and bigotry, and when an individual is victimized because of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation, we must act swiftly to ensure justice and accountability,” the statement said. 

Times staff writer Matt Hamilton contributed to this report.

joseph.serna@latimes.com

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.

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UPDATES:

8:20 p.m.: This story was updated with details about an incident in Burbank.

5:50 p.m.: This story was updated with incidents in Milpitas and Woodside.

2:35 p.m.: This article was updated with a statement from the California attorney general’s office and details on the Shasta High School incident.

This article was originally published at 12:05 p.m.

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