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Decision on White Students’ Group Gets Postponed

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The student council at Ventura High School postponed a decision last week on whether to allow a white student union to form on campus, because backers of the club have not found a teacher willing to sponsor them.

Student President Sean Osborne said the 35-member Associated Student Body will review the proposed white student union’s constitution, to make sure that there is a need at the school for a group that focuses on white issues and European culture. A vote is scheduled to be taken Monday.

“We feel this group may serve to inform themselves, but it won’t do anything for the school as a whole,” said Osborne shortly after meeting with other representatives on the issue Thursday.

“This club could cause more racial tensions,” Osborne said.

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The request to form the white group follows the formation of the Black Student Union in September, and comes after an attack on a black student last week by a former student.

Zaylore Stout, the 17-year-old president of the Black Student Union, said he was leaving school at the end of the day when he was assaulted by a man who shouted a racial slur and punched him.

Stout, also a representative on the student council, said several students at the meeting asked whether the white group was necessary.

“Nobody is saying they can’t have it,” Stout said. “We’re just wondering if it will have a positive effect on Ventura High School.”

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Discussion among the representatives focused on the constitutionality of such a group, and one student read the part of the Bill of Rights that guarantees freedom of speech.

Asked what he thought that the outcome of the vote would be, Stout said he guessed “it is pretty much split.”

About 150 students have signed a petition calling for the white union, saying the study of European and Aryan history is lacking in classrooms at the school.

Recently, a white student group at a predominantly Latino high school in Anaheim formed a European-American club, raising protests from minority activists that the club may be a haven for racists. Students in the group, however, said it was formed because whites at their school are minorities.

But at Ventura High School, whites far outnumber other ethnic groups, school official Lanie Springer said. In 1990, about 1,300 of the school’s 1,800 students were white, about 380 were Latino and 43 were black.

The students trying to form the white student union “just want to keep us down,” said 17-year-old Marcela Nunez, an officer of the school’s Mexican-American club.


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