Parents of students attending Lincoln High School sent a message to San Diego Unified School District officials and police officers Wednesday: “We’ll move forward.”
Members of the Lincoln High School Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) spoke outside the campus on Imperial Avenue. They wanted to respond to comments made by the leadership of the San Diego Schools Police Officers Association just before the first day of school.
Cindy Barros, President, Lincoln PTO, said it was “unacceptable” to shed a negative light on the students at the start of a new school year.
On February 26, two students got into a fight during a lunch break that ended up in a parking garage. No weapons were involved.
SDUSD Police Officer Bashir Abdi followed one of the students into the garage where an altercation occurred.
Video from a student’s phone showed one of the students, a 16 year old, on the ground in the parking garage after being stunned with a Taser. Five students were exposed to pepper spray.
The officer was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
An investigation was launched into the school police officer’s actions.
Two students faced criminal charges ranging from assault on a police officer to theft and vandalism. Prosecutor would not reveal charges filed against a third juvenile.
In March, the district announced that none of the students involved would be expelled.
Over the weekend, Jesus Montana, President of the San Diego Schools Police Officers Association, expressed frustration with how the incident was handled by the district.
“The student should have been recommended for expulsion," said Montana.
Montana said there was an agreement with the district for both the student and the officer to be transferred to different schools, but only the officer will be involuntarily transferred after he recovers from his injuries.
“For the officers it’s a sense of betrayal, mistrust and not knowing if the district will have their back in the future if politics will lead the decision," said Montana.
Barros said the union leader’s statement would set back the PTO’s efforts to bridge the gap between students, school police and the community.
“Let’s keep our eyes on the prize and not be distracted by the past,” she said.
Barros said parents and school leaders should be focused on the class schedule to ensure students’ success.
Montana offered this response to NBC 7:
“Our intent was not to disrupt Lincoln. We met with the District last week. We insist on having equity disciplinary process on all students.”
He also if the Lincoln PTO wishes to meet with him, he is more than happy to speak with them.