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Cerritos : Criticism of Black History Leads to Suspension, Scuffle

Community Digest

February 13, 1992

The furor over an unauthorized announcement criticizing Black History Month led to a police alert at Cerritos High School last week and a scuffle during which a school security guard received minor injuries, witnesses and officials said.

The chain of events began Thursday when senior Matt Jones took the microphone at about 10:30 during the morning announcements. He criticized the practice of letting black students make occasional announcements highlighting black history during Black History Month, which is February. Jones, who is white, said it was unfair for other races not to be given equal time, according to witnesses.

After about 30 seconds, officials regained the microphone. Later that morning, Principal Gary Smuts apologized over the intercom for the incident, suspended Jones for five days and announced an assembly later the same day for concerned students.

During the assembly, a security guard fell and received minor injuries while breaking up a scuffle between two students, officials said. Sheriff's patrols arrived soon after and there were no further incidents.

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