An alleged assault involving a local student and resident has officials investigating the details of a fight just outside of the Santa Monica High School campus last Friday afternoon.
After hearing the bangs of garbage cans and car doors accompany the cheers of what sounded like a large group of students, neighbor Rachel Swenson said in an interview Monday she peeked outside her window and saw a large group of Samohi and Olympic High School students huddled in a circle, yelling profanities and videotaping two others exchanging punches.
As a local who has lived across from Samohi for years, Swenson said Monday she is not ignorant to the “unlawful student behavior” that sometimes transpires near her home, but Friday’s incident was unlike anything she’s witnessed before.
“Worried for my property, I walked outside when one of the students threatened and physically assaulted me as I was going to my car,” Swenson said as she explained the graphic details of the incident and the profanities yelled her way. “Then after I got into my car, she came up and attacked me and my car again.”
Other students impeded Swenson’s path and encircled her car while they yelled derogatory remarks and made aggressive physical threats, she said Monday. “This was a horrifying experience and I have filed a police report with Santa Monica Police because this violence needs to be documented and on the record.”
Superintendent Ben Drati said in a statement, “Santa Monica High School and Olympic High School administration received a report of an alleged fight off campus that occurred after school on Friday afternoon, Feb. 28, 2020.”
SMPD spokesman Lt. Joseph Cortez said officers responded in under two minutes but the children had scattered and ran away.
“Later that night at 7:45-ish, we got a call for an assault or a battery. We went out to take the report,” Cortez said. “I believe, (Swenson) filmed it and we saw somebody was very hostile to her — knocked her phone out her hand, kicked her car and stuff like that. It’s being investigated. There was a fight. And both officers and the school are aware.”
“Anyone with information about this alleged incident is asked to contact the Santa Monica Police Department,” said Drati.
“I’m extremely disappointed with the school’s response because I feel it doesn’t match the severity of the violence,” Swenson said. “Neighbors should not feel terrorized and attacked by the school’s students.”