Six San Gabriel High School students may face expulsion for beating two schoolmates last month in what some students and parents believe was a racially motivated attack.
Principal Jack Mount on Thursday said he is recommending that the Alhambra School Board, which oversees the high school, expel the students because of the severity of the incident. The March 19 fracas injured two Chinese-American students, Andy Chen, 18, and his brother Tim, 15. Eight Latino students, whom Mount would not name, were arrested after the incident and suspended from school for five days, Mount said. The principal has extended the suspensions indefinitely for six of them.
A special panel of school district employees will decide whether to recommend expulsion later this month. The school board may vote on the matter April 23, Mount said.
There have been conflicts between Asian and Latino students on campus in the past, but Mount said the latest incident was "what I would characterize as the usual taunting that goes on between macho people sort of challenging each other to fight."
But Andy Chen said the whole thing started when one of the students confronted him in the school parking lot, used a four-letter epithet and referred to him as \o7 chino, \f7 which means Chinese in Spanish. Chen said a fight then ensued, and about 20 students beat him and his brother. The two said they suffered bruises on their faces and backs and had bloody noses. Tim Chen said he went to the hospital and was treated and released.
A group of Chinese-American parents and students believe the boys were the victims of anti-Asian violence. They want the district to acknowledge that there is a racial problem.
A group of 225 Asian-American students from San Gabriel High have signed a petition denouncing the incident and claiming that they often are harassed.
"If we continue to not stand up and protest against it, we are afraid that we will be beaten as these two other Chinese were," said the petition. The Chinese American Parents & Teachers Assn. of Southern California has forwarded it to the school district.