#students | #parents | School district: Fight at Paso Robles High School may have been motivated by racial comments

PASO ROBLES, Calif. – The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District believes a fight that broke out on the Paso Robles High School campus Wednesday may have been motivated by racial comments between students.

The district confirmed to our newsroom that the fight happened around lunchtime. School staff and Paso Robles police officers responded to the scene quickly.

Three students were involved in the fight.

No injuries were reported.

Deputy Superintendent Jennifer Gaviola says a large crowd of students also swarmed around those who were fighting. She says this demonstrates the importance of parents speaking with their children about not being “active bystanders.” The district says some students in the crowd took video of the fight, ran towards the incident, and provoked the students who were involved.

After the fight, students were escorted around campus during bathroom breaks to avoid large crowds of students running around campus. The school was not placed on lockdown during the incident.

The district says there will be a heightened law enforcement presence at the school for the remainder of the week. This is in addition to a School Resource Officer who is already stationed at Paso Robles High School.

The Paso Robles Police Department is conducting follow-up investigations.

The district sent out the following letter to parents:

Today during lunch at Paso Robles High School, there was a student fight that led to a large campus disruption.  The investigation is ongoing and there are early indications that racial comments may have played a role in this student altercation.  PRHS administration and staff quickly responded to assist in breaking up the fight and PRPD officers were deployed to the campus.

There was a very large crowd of students who were watching, filming and verbally engaging in the fight by yelling negative comments toward other students, staff and police officers.  Our staff and local authorities responded quickly, dispersed the crowds and secured the campus. Currently, our administrative and counseling staff are conducting the investigation and providing support as needed. Additional law enforcement and supervisory staff will be on site today and the rest of the week to support the safety of all students.  

It is important as a school community that we work together proactively to solve issues prior to physical altercations.  We have counseling staff available to help resolve student conflicts, and we encourage all students to use these resources.  

All students should refrain from participating as active bystanders (videoing, running towards the altercation and verbally provoking).  Active bystanders inhibit the effectiveness of our staff and PRPD from resolving incidents. Filming for the purpose of sharing the video on social media outlets promotes violence and is unacceptable at our schools. 

Student safety is our number one priority and students involved in this incident will be held accountable according to the statues of California Education Code and district disciplinary guidelines.  Local law enforcement will apply the California Penal Code as appropriate.

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