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VALLEY FOCUS | Van Nuys

Students Walk Out of Classes Again

October 10, 1998|ROBERTO J. MANZANO

For the second time this week, police showed up at Van Nuys High School on Friday morning after nearly 100 students walked out of class to protest the transfer of their school officer.

About 10:30 a.m, 98 students walked off campus and onto Cedros Avenue in support of Los Angeles Unified School District Officer Victor M. Del Rio. Monday is Del Rio's last day at the school and a new officer will take his place, Principal Russ Thompson said.

The students returned to campus after 30 minutes, Thompson said. Del Rio and Thompson spoke to the students in the school auditorium.

"I asked them to please not [walk out] anymore and I hope that's what they decide to do," Thompson said. "I hope they will accept the new officer and concentrate on school."

Del Rio's ability to listen to students has won him their affection, several students said.

On Wednesday, police arrived in riot gear at the school when 300 students walked out of class to protest Del Rio's transfer. Seven students were suspended for two days for destroying school property, using profanity and defying authority, Thompson said. On Friday a student was suspended for throwing rocks, he said.

School officers are routinely transferred after five years at the same campus, and Del Rio asked to be reassigned because he knew he was leaving Van Nuys High next year. The 31-year-old officer will begin a new assignment at Taft High School in Woodland Hills next week.

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