Students at Deer Valley High School in Antioch, CA have been taking their brawls to the parking lot of a local shopping center, where they fight every single day after school. It’s not just one or two isolated incidents—police who spoke to KTVU say it’s been going on since the end of last school year.
The problem is now so out of control that both the Taco Bell and the McDonald’s in that shopping center close down daily between 3pm and 5pm, in efforts to keep both employees and customers safe.
“At school you get suspended or something for that,” explains one student, “If you’re not at school you go to the plaza and fight and get away with it.”
Groups of up to 50 to 60 students don’t go into the restaurants themselves to start the fights. They keep it out in the parking lot.
Videos of the parking lot fights have ended up on YouTube, like this one:
A Taco Bell employee talked to CBS SF Bay and said that after each day’s fighting, sometimes teenagers who were involved in the fight will “hide out” in the restaurant and make plans for more fighting. That same employee said that other employees working the counter had received physical threats from some of the teens.
Local resident Breana Williams told KTVU that on one day, the teenagers “literally surrounded my car, and I just had to lock the doors and call police.”
What’s prompting all this fighting? Ninth grader Crystal Craig told KTVU, “A lot of it has to do with boys or people talking about them.”
Local citizens wish the parents, school, or police would do something about the problem, and plenty of finger-pointing is going on. Police say they’re spread too thin, and shouldn’t be expected to babysit.
Antioch Police Chief Allan Cantando also told KTVU that the property management company needs to hire more security, and that the police have tried to talk to them about it. “We haven’t had a lot of luck communicating with them; our calls go unreturned.”