3 Hurt in Brawl at Jefferson High

Times Staff Writer

Three Jefferson High School students suffered minor injuries Thursday in a lunchtime brawl involving more than 100 Latinos and blacks, authorities said.

The melee erupted in and around the cafeteria about 1 p.m. when a male Latino student threw something at two black females who were fighting.

The melee, which occurred after an annual evacuation drill, lasted about 15 minutes before it was broken up by police and school officials.

“I’m disappointed,” said Norm Morrow, principal of the East 41st Street school. “It tells me there are some deep-seated feelings out there that we’ve got to address.”

No arrests were made. District officials said they would try to identify the students who incited the disturbance for possible suspension.


Following the incident, the school’s 2,400 students were escorted to their classrooms and, after a brief lockdown, were released an hour early. Police Chief William J. Bratton went to the school to talk with officials and reporters about the incident.

Although authorities were careful not to say that the brawl was racially motivated, several students said there are racial tensions on campus.

“It’s like we’re fighting the neighbors next door just because we’re a different race,” said Michael Ortega, 17. “Especially blacks and Hispanics. We both live in the same place, we both have the same problems and everything.”