Sharpstown High School - History - Race Riot

Race Riot

During the final day of school around 11 A.M. on June 2, 1988, three African-American teenagers attacked a White football player in an Algebra class. The fight grew to 100 participants with around 400 students watching the race riot. Sixteen police cars and one helicopter traveled to the school, and police closed Bissonnet Street for 45 minutes. Two students were hospitalized. Police identified the main perpetrator as a 17-year-old former student who was expelled in 1987. Police said that he, along with two students, armed themselves with a nail-studded stick and a chain and looked for a target in revenge for an incident two months earlier, when a White football player beat two Black students. The Algebra teacher pressed a panic button, but it did not work, so the teacher sent a student to report the incident. A 1988 Houston Chronicle article written one day after the brawl stated that Sharpstown had a history of racial tension. Gayle Fallon, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, criticized the school. Fallon said that the school should have taken more precautionary measures to ensure a racially motivated fight did not happen. Larry Yawn, an HISD spokesperson, and principal Don Carlisle said the officials were not aware of rumors about an upcoming fight.

In spring 1991, as a result of the 1988 scuffle, Carlisle prohibited students from wearing Confederate States of America-related clothing at the May 17 prom. Five White students faced ejection when they were found with the clothing; some White students criticized the school, saying that it had a double standard as it allowed African-American students to wear Malcolm X-related clothing. The same students said that racial tensions had decreased from 1988 levels.

Read more about this topic:  Sharpstown High School, History

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