Hispanic students attack Anglos in Deming NM schools
Anglo students are being beaten up and harassed by Hispanic students, according to parents in Deming, New Mexico, a town of 15,000 thirty miles north of the Mexican border. It's been going on for years and they want something done about it, several parents told the Board of Education this week.
About 80 percent of the school population in Deming is Hispanic. A few hundred students are bused across the border into Deming for school each day from the neighboring city of Palomas, Mexico. The students, who live in Mexico but attend school in the United States, are part of a 50-year tradition of shared schooling. The overwhelming majority of them are U.S. citizens because they were born in the area's only hospital, on the U.S. side of the border.
Although there have been similar complaints through the years, the impetus for this latest incident was the beating Aug. 28 of a Deming High School freshman by a group of 16 to 20 students. The beating was recorded on a cellphone camera. One of the attackers allegedly used brass knuckles in the attack.
More than 50 parents and students filled the Administration Building for the meeting. Eighteen spoke of ongoing name calling and physical altercations against students, most of which they considered racial. “"I will not go quietly. I want justice," said the mother of the student who was beaten.
Of the four students cited by police for battery, three have Columbus, New Mexico addresses. Columbus is a small town three miles north of the Mexico border. The investigation is continuing, Police Chief Michael Carillo said.
The response from the Board of Education to date has been tepid at best. Board President David McSherry said there are channels to follow to take problems to the district, beginning with a teacher, moving to a building principal, then the superintendent and, if that does not work, "Then call me. I want to listen to your story," he said. "Staff has already followed up on this and taken appropriate action."
What that “appropriate action” is remains to be seen. The school has a zero-tolerance policy on any violence, drugs or weapons in the school. Violators are subject to suspension or expulsion. But federal laws will not allow the district to tell the public what action it has taken.
A spokesman for the group Thursday said parents and students are "outraged" and "frustrated," and have tried the channels suggested by McSherry, without success.
The lack of appropriate response has caused some students to drop out rather than weather the continued harassment. The mother of three students who quit school because of bullying and targeting begged the Board to fix the problem. “If you need extra people at the schools, call us. We'll monitor the halls. Please help us." A girl who quit school because she was harassed by 13 girls said the girls told her they were harassing her because she was white.
The student who was beaten said he has had problems since kindergarten. "I want justice," said the boy's father. "My children are all getting physically sick to go to school."
Other students spoke of being called "sluts" and "whores," of being beaten on school buses, of students throwing items at them because "we are white."
Superintendent Harvielee Moore pledged to do “everything we can to work with parents and students to address concerns."
But according to another parent, the superintendent is a big part of the problem. When she tried to discuss a beating her son received, she said the super “refused to speak to me, until I called the school board president.” Then she called the parent and dismissed the complaint, saying, "You know...boys fight; it is impossible to determine if this was a hate crime."
The superintendent continues to maintain that "we do not have a racist problem in this district."
At one time School Resource Officers from the police department patrolled the schools, but federal funding for the program was cut about five years ago the chief of police said. Officers still patrol schools daily, but are not in buildings the full school day.
Tags: School Violence , Hispanic Gangs , School Racial Problems , Deming NM , Palomas Mexico
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