Student Fatally Shot After Fight Breaks Out Near Washington Preparatory High School in South L.A.

Student Fatally Shot After Fight Breaks Out Near Washington Preparatory High School in South L.A.

A tragic incident unfolded near Washington Preparatory High School in South Los Angeles on April 15, resulting in the death of a student. The incident occurred just a couple of blocks away from the school, where a fight broke out among a group of students. A video captured the moments leading up to the fight, with an adult off-camera seemingly encouraging the altercation and refusing to intervene. This adult was reportedly a member of the “safe passages” program, which aims to ensure students’ safety during their commute to and from school.

Within seconds of the fight starting, three gunshots rang out, and a student was struck. He collapsed and was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department has taken over the investigation into the shooting, while the school district has remained tight-lipped about the incident, deferring questions to the Sheriff’s Department.

The incident has reignited the ongoing debate surrounding campus safety in the Los Angeles Unified School District, particularly regarding the role of school police. Students, community activists, and the teachers union have called for the complete dismantling of the school police department, arguing that their presence “criminalizes” students and undermines the nurturing and academically focused environment schools should provide.

In response to these demands, schools have increasingly relied on the safe passages program, which involves district staff, volunteers, and hired organizations or companies visibly monitoring students’ routes between home and school. However, a significant number of parents, particularly those from the Latino community, advocate for the return of school police, believing they contribute to safer campuses and are preferable to relying solely on city police in emergencies.

The shooting occurred near a bus stop at 108th Street and Western Avenue, where students were gathered. Two witnesses, both 10th-grade students, stated that they did not hear the alleged safety team member’s comments but observed someone from the safe passages program seemingly watching the fight unfold. The presence and actions of the safe passages worker have not been confirmed or denied by the school district.

The incident has raised questions about the protocols and training for those involved in safe passages, as well as the coordination between the program and school police. Some argue that the lack of communication and cooperation between these entities may have contributed to the tragic outcome.

Principal Tony Booker sent a message to students and parents, expressing deep sadness over the student’s death and offering condolences to the family, friends, and teachers. Crisis counselors were made available, and the Los Angeles School Police Department increased its presence on campus as a precautionary measure.

As investigations continue, calls for consistent de-escalation training and improved procedures have emerged. The need for a balanced approach to campus safety, considering both counseling-oriented strategies and the presence of trained officers, has become a focal point of the discussion.

Author: CrimeDoor

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