A 15-year-old sophomore at Washington's Woodrow Wilson High School was arrested yesterday and charged with assault, and six other students were taken to a city police station for questioning about a fight in the snow on Tuesday in which four students were badly beaten.
City police said four boys at the school at Chesapeake Street and Nebraska Avenue NW had signed complaints, saying that there were kicked and beaten on the school grounds by a group of about 25 other students.
One students was kicked so badly in the head, police said, that he was dazed and bloody, and was taken to Sibley Hospital for treatment. And other one of the four also signed a complaint, charging attempted robbery.
City school superintendent Vincent Reed said the students who committed the assaults would be punished "severely." Police said they expected to make several more arrests in the case during the next few days.
All the boys who were beaten were white, police said. They said the boys told them that all their attackers were black.
The boy who was most severely beaten said he was chased across the school grounds by youths shouting, "Get the white boys."
This year Wilson High has 1,920 students, according to the official enrollment report. About 68 per cent of them are black, 20 per cent are white. The remainder are Asian and Hispanic.
Wilson is located in a predominantly white section of the city. Is white enrollment has dropped by about 25 per cent over the past two years. Most of its black students come by bys from other parts of Washington.
Wilson, refused to talk to a reporter yesterday. However, students and teachers - both black and white - said there had been considerable trouble at the school since Septmeber after several much peaceful years.
In one incident in November, police said, the older brother of a student came to the school with a shotgun and threatened to kill people. The youth was arrested, police said, and the gun was found to be unloaded.
According to articles, editorials and letters in the December issue of the The Beacon, the Wilson student newspaper, assaults, locker thefts, and extortion have occurred regularly since school opened in the fall despite tightened rules on where students can be in the building when they're not attending classes.
Yesterday many students were seen wearing their coats in well-heated classrooms.
"I wouldn't take my coat off and put it in my locker," said Gail Harris, a 17-year-old junior. "Then I'd leave school with no coat."
Police said that normally one officer patrols both Wilson and adjoining Deal Junior High School, but he was away testifying in court on Tuesday when the fights occurred at Wilson.
Yesterday three plain-clothesman and two uniformed officers were in and around the school, police said, along with two security officers employed by the school system. Three other officers came to the school about 10 a.m. to take students away in squad cars for questioning.
Several students said they were afraid to name the boys who took part in Tuesday's assaults because of possible reprisals.
"If anybody touches anybody who told what they know to police," Supt. Reed said. "I will deal wtih them in the most severe manner I can... We can't let violence happen at any school. We have to deal with it severely."