District spokesman: Gangs to blame for Arvin high violence

ARVIN, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - In the Kern High School District, classes started Monday. Already, one high school is defending its safety practices after two incidents involving student injuries on campus.

On Tuesday, a student was stabbed in the leg at Arvin High School by a 14-year-old student with a knife. The victim suffered a puncture wound and was treated for minor injuries.

On Wednesday, a person who isn't a student came to the Arvin High campus prior to the start of school and shot at some students with an air pistol. The air pistol, which is similar to a handgun powered by air that shoots plastic pellets, is not lethal but it did break the skin on one student.

Thursday morning, concern was heightened as the threat of violence continued with word spreading throughout the student body of a possible attack on campus that would take place at lunchtime.

Theresa Prieto said her daughter got a text message about it and was scared to go to school.

"I go, they're not going to let anything happen to you," Prieto told her daughter. "You have your phone, you dial 911 just in case and then you dial me right away."

Prieto wasn't the only parent to be concerned about her children, but she said she felt a lot better when she saw all the extra law enforcement in place.

"They're taking every precaution. They have enough officers and staff and counselors and all that to be ready for anything," said Prieto.

John Teves, the public information officer for the Kern High School District, said the incidents that took place on campus were the result of a dispute between two rival street gangs.

Teves said they picked the wrong place to carry out their dispute. "Kern High School District campuses are gang-free zones. You will not bring your gang identity, your gang ID or clothing or anything else to a campus. We're not going to tolerate this."

Teves said they have stepped up security measures at the school and have law enforcement present from the Kern High School District police force, Arvin police and the Kern County Sheriff's Office.

Both of the juveniles responsible for the attacks have been arrested and are being charged with assault with a deadly weapon and involvement in a criminal street gang.