A disparaging look or comment between two teenagers of different races reportedly sparked a lunchtime brawl in the middle of a Sunset district commercial corridor Friday that drew a massive crowd of Lincoln High School students and several police squad cars.
“All the kids went outside and they left their lunches,” said the manager of the Kentucky Fried Chicken located at Taraval Street and 22nd Avenue, where the incident took place. The manager, who did not want to be identified, estimated the crowd to be about 100 students.
Lincoln High Principal Ronald Pang said although the fight was still under investigation, that initial reports indicate that the skirmish started with some type of insult cast between two teenagers — one African American, one Asian — each hanging out with a small group of three to four friends.
“It spilled on to the streets and they were being egged on by their friends,” Pang said. “There were probably more spectators than participants.”
At least two police squad cars from nearby Taraval Station arrived on the scene to break up the fight, but no arrests were made, according to Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Steve Mannina.
Pang said that although the altercation involved youth of different races, he said he’s received no reports from students, nor is he seeing any signs of tension on campus, to make him think that race was the cause of the fight.
Racial tensions are often subtle, said Angela Chan, a staff attorney for the Asian Law Caucus. Last week, the civil rights organization, along with groups representing other minorities, held a press conference to call attention to a new state law signed by the Governor intended to prevent and reduce harassment and violence in schools based on race and other biases.
A 2005 survey of San Francisco high school students found that 28 percent had been harassed at school because of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability — up from 23 percent in 2003.