Los Angeles Times

Police are called to high school as protest escalates

Four students are held in a demonstrat­ion against the dress code at Grossmont in San Diego County.

- BY KAREN KUCHER, KAREN PEARLMAN AND ALEX RIGGINS Kucher, Pearlman and Riggins write for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

EL CAJON, Calif. — A student protest over the dress code at San Diego County’s Grossmont High School “escalated” Monday afternoon, with apples and water bottles being thrown and students refusing to return to class after lunch, prompting a police response, a school district spokesman said.

Officers from the El Cajon Police Department were sent to the campus after school officials called for a “secure campus,” a type of lockdown, according to Grossmont Union High School District spokesman Collin McGlashen.

“To calm the situation and keep students safe, a ‘secure campus’ was called, and a law enforcemen­t response was required,” McGlashen tweeted. “Law enforcemen­t remains on campus to ensure an orderly return to class so the school day can continue.”

McGlashen tweeted at 3 p.m. that after discussion­s between high school staff members and leaders of the protest, the demonstrat­ion ended and the school day continued.

Four students “were detained — for the safety of themselves and others — and released,” McGlashen tweeted. “Students are safe. Law enforcemen­t remained on campus out of an abundance of caution as the school day continued.”

Images posted on Twitter showed one person on a gurney and a student jumping onto white cloth that apparently had been used as a banner. Principal Dan Barnes said the person seen on the gurney had an asthma attack unrelated to the dress code protest.

El Cajon Police Lt. Randy Soulard said he didn’t have much informatio­n on the incident, but that as of 2 p.m., the scene was “still fairly active.” He said officers remained on the campus.

“The school district is handling this incident and any resulting investigat­ion or discipline,” Soulard wrote in a follow-up email. “The El Cajon Police were on scene to ensure the safety of the children on campus.”

It was not immediatel­y clear what part of the dress code students were protesting, and McGlashen did not immediatel­y respond to messages seeking more informatio­n about whether the policy was recently changed.

The dress code prohibits about 20 clothing items, including sleeveless garments; strapless shirts or tube tops; spaghetti straps; sagging pants; miniskirts and short shorts; sports jerseys other than school athletic jerseys; spiked jewelry; clothing displaying logos of racist groups or gangs; and clothing advertisin­g alcohol, tobacco, drugs or sex-related brands such as Playboy and Hustler.

According to the school’s website, the dress code is “a dynamic document” that can be changed throughout the school year.

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