Lincoln HS Students Show Unity Following Violence on Campus

Four students were hurt by pepper spray and the fifth was injured by a Taser. A school police officer suffered a concussion in the melee, district officials said.

Students at Lincoln High School wore green to school Monday to show unity following a fight on campus three days earlier.

A fight broke out between two male students at the school on Imperial Avenue during Friday's lunch break and ended up in a parking garage. No weapons were involved, according to San Diego Unified School District officials.

Somehow, the violence escalated to the point that a school officer used his Taser on a 16-year-old student and used pepper spray on several other students.

Officer Bashir Abdi was sent to the hospital with head injuries. He was released over the weekend but when he returns he will be placed on administrative duty.

One student was arrested and may face charges of assaulting a police officer. 

One grandparent told NBC 7 he believed the school police officer used excessive force in this case.

“I think there are other things you can do instead of Tasing them,” Gene Moore said. “These are students. What can they do, the students?”

The San Diego Unified School district says they do have policies in place for when a school officer can use a Taser or pepper spray.

The incident Friday is still under investigation.

On Monday, students, teachers, district officials and local church leaders gathered in what the district calls a 'restorative circle.'

Vernon Moore, Executive Director of Youth Advocacy, San Diego Unified School District said discussions are vital for students to get over what they may have seen on Friday.

“We know that they are experiencing the trauma and so we have to address that and really restorative practice provides us a very good avenue to hear the voices and to begin to address that healing process,” Moore said.

Originally school administrators said they would hold an assembly to address any concerns or questions but instead, staff will train teachers to talk with students in their classrooms in a more intimate setting.

Concerns voiced by students will be forwarded to the principal so staff can evaluate the next step in the recovery process.

“Cops shouldn't be able bring Tasers or at least pepper spray in school because they’re students and most of them are underage and it’s just not fair,” said student Valentin Perales.

Surveillance video will be released, San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten said. 

Six people -- a school police officer and five students -- were among those taken to various hospitals due to the melee. Multiple students said the situation began when a group started "play fighting" at lunch. Officials could not confirm how the fight began, but they said at most, six students were actually involved. Between 70 and 100 others were bystanders to the fight. 

Officials said Abdi was struck from behind and punched on the back of the head by a student and, as a result, suffered a concussion.

Four students were hurt by pepper spray and the fifth was injured by a Taser. All were treated and released, school authorities said. Other students also suffered minor injuries, SDFD officials said, but those students were evaluated or treated at the scene or released to their parents.

In a statement Saturday, the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties said they were "deeply concerned" about Friday's incident, adding a student was now facing charges in juvenile court as a result of the incident. 

The ACLU also said the school police officer involved may have a history of complaints against him, saying the officer "unnecessarily escalated the situation by singling out and assaulting the student," though other accounts may differ.

"The fact is, at this moment, the public does not know what happened and should not rush to judgment," the ACLU statement says.

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