Sorry We Didn’t Protect You From Almost Dying

Sorry We Didn’t Protect You From Almost Dying

A California school district agrees to pay $725,000 to 12 Black students for failing to protect them from Latino gangs on school grounds.

Published June 24, 2011

A gang suspect has "Azusa Canyon City" tattooed on the back of his head. (Photo: AP Photo/Jason Redmond)

A Union City, California, school district has agreed to pay 12 African-American students and their families $725,000 for failing to protect them and their classmates from racial harassment and violence.


In 2007, the victims’ 14-year-old classmate, Vernon Eddins was shot and killed at Barnard-White Middle School in Union City, allegedly by young Latino gang members.


"The violence against African-American youth in Union City has been going on unchecked for years, and it has to stop now," Pamela Smith, the families’ lawyer said at a press conference on Thursday after the settlement was announced.


Three plaintiffs were also chased and shot at by the same gang although the school district had been warned that African-American students would be attacked on or near school grounds that same day. When the students filed their complaints, the school district accused the plaintiffs of lying, according to the lawsuit.


This news comes just weeks after 51 alleged members of the Latino gang Azusa 13 were indicted in Los Angeles on charges of racketeering and conspiracy in effort to force Blacks to leave the 64-percent Hispanic and 4-percent Black city of Azusa.


In addition to the $725,000 paid, the district has agreed to require high school students and visitors to carry identification on campus. It also agreed to start a class on issues of gang violence and train teachers on gang-related issues each semester for two hours.

Written by Danielle Wright


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