Some Somali students say they don't feel safe at South High School in Minneapolis, where last week a brawl that involved hundreds of students erupted in a lunchroom. Three students and a school staff member went to the hospital with minor injuries.
"Nobody listens to us, nobody understands what we're talking about," tearful student Kowsar Mohamed, 16, said at a press conference Tuesday, MPR reported. "It's the fact that we go somewhere for education but we don't feel safe."
The media conference was organized Minneapolis school board member Hussein Samatar, who said district leaders are not doing enough to make Somali students feel welcome, although he downplayed what some suggest led to the fight – tension between Somali students and African-American and Native American students, MPR reported.
Students, parents and community leaders stressed that tensions had been building at the school for months, WCCO reported.
Some students and parents said they objected to the way Minneapolis police responded to the incident, with some suggesting police used too much force, the Star Tribune reported. Chief Janeé Harteau said she would investigate the concerns, the newspaper reported.
Of the 1,700 students at South High School, about 140 are of Somali heritage, and some say they don't feel like they are understood by their peers, and they seek ways to bridge a cultural divide, Fox 9 reports.
Minneapolis Public Schools CEO Rick Mills said district leaders are still planning next steps in response to the melee.
The school is holding small students meetings, increasing teacher training and plans parents meetings, WCCO reported.