Students say racial divide is problem at John Tyler HS

By Philippe Djegal - email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Over the course of this tragedy, parents and students have brought to light an apparent racial divide on the John Tyler High School campus. Superintendent Dr. Randy Reid acknowledged yesterday that some of the fights happening at East Texas schools are related to gang activity. And, students say that the racially charged violence has them fearing for their safety.

"Right now, these fights are pretty much all racial," said Laura Arredondo, a junior. "Like, you know, it's all about race."

Arredondo says less than 24 hours before Mr. Henry was stabbed, Hispanic and African American students brawled.

"It was pretty bad," said Arredondo. "There was...everybody was in the back where the buses be at, and then this side was all Mexicans, the other side was all blacks, and it was just everybody getting at it."

Superintendent Randy Reid says...

"I'd be the first person to tell you, that we do have a gang problem in Tyler, Texas," said Reid.

"Is race driving these fights?" I asked Gerardo Arredondo.

"Yes, sir, it is," he replied.

"Some of the fights that have occurred at John Tyler and other campuses in Tyler do have some relation to gang activity," said Reid.

That gang activity is leaving students scared.

"You just expect fights," said Courtland Nickelbery. "I mean, no, you wouldn't expect nothing - nobody to die or anything. But, stuff happens."

"I'm moving schools," said Lacey Smith. "I can't be in this environment at all."

Smith says she no longer feels safe at school.

"It's making me insecure for education to get here," said Smith. "I can't just sit here no more. This is inappropriate. It's very inappropriate."

"[There are] just fights everywhere - throughout the whole day - just fighting and...since it was racial, it doesn't matter who, it was just whoever was there was going to get hit," said Laura Arredondo.

"We don't know who's going to hurt us, or is going to attack us all day," said Smith.

It is a sense of insecurity leaving students afraid of school.

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