Gangs control enrollment at Los Angeles high schools, writes the LA Times. The district must transfer students out of their neighborhoods to alleviate overcrowding. But a “blue” (Crips) student can’t be sent to a “red” (Bloods) campus.
In a sign of the pervasive presence of street gangs in this city, the nation’s second-largest school district has been forced to bend to the gangs’ mob-like influence. Police officers patrol all 49 high school campuses. Administrators rely on student informants to warn them when gang feuds are brewing. Student transfer plans are color-coded to keep kids from rival neighborhoods apart, whether or not they are gang members. It is no longer just the locked gates, chain-link fences and metal detectors on campuses that evoke a penitentiary comparison, but the machinations required to blunt the effect of gang rivalries in classrooms and schoolyards.
It’s youth relations counselor Joel Juntilla escorting a 14-year-old with gang ties around his new school, so the “shot-callers” of a resident rival gang can meet him and let Juntilla know whether the kid’s likely to make it through lunch without getting jumped. It’s a San Fernando Valley vice principal turning away a transfer student because he hails from a neighborhood that is at war with a gang whose members already attend the school. It is understanding that you can’t send a Crip to Fremont High; that Jefferson High is home to the Bloods; that kids crowded out of Manual Arts, considered “mostly blue,” will be bused past closer uncrowded schools out to Chatsworth or Taft in Woodland Hills, because Crips are safe on those campuses. It’s a dress code that is dictated by danger: no baggy pants, caps or bandannas, no shoelaces that are red or blue — nothing that might signal gang ties.
The city also has violent Korean youth gangs — but they earn A’s.