Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Latino parents organize march on Einstein

Hearings begin for three students charged in gun incident at Kensington school

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Latino parents are planning to march on Albert Einstein High Friday in support of the school’s principal and to demonstrate their resolve to find solutions to the issues of ‘‘gangs, race and academic achievement” at the Kensington school.

Alex Colina of Wheaton, whose son will attend Einstein in the fall, said the event will be the start of a new partnership between parents and the school.

‘‘Parents want to show that they want to work with the school,” he said Tuesday. ‘‘We’re not asking the school to fix the problems, but help us find ways to deal with...gangs and everything related to that violence, race relations and the academic achievement gap. They want to see what it is that Latino parents can do to address that.”

The march will begin around 6:15 p.m. Friday at Newport Mill Middle School, 11311 Newport Mill Road, and head toward the high school at 11135 Newport Mill Road. A community meeting, held in Spanish, will follow at 7 p.m. at Einstein.

The idea for the march and meeting came about after several informal meetings of Latino Einstein parents. Colina said Latino parents have been meeting on Friday evenings since April 9, when students brought guns into school for sale.

Friday’s events will come just days before Einstein students Jose Ramos, 16, Geovani Lazabara, 17, and Raul Garcia, 20, are scheduled for hearings next week in Montgomery County District Court on charges stemming from a gun incident at the school on April 9. Police have reported the suspects had some connection to gangs.

Ramos and Lazabara are charged as adults on nine counts of various weapons charges, according to court documents.

Ramos, of the of the 2500 block of Weisman Road in Silver Spring, and Lazabara, of the 3900 block of Isbel Street in Silver Spring, both have hearings set for 8:30 a.m. Monday at the Silver Spring District Court. Ramos is being held on $100,000 bond at the county detention center. Lazabara posted $100,000 bond and was released from jail on April 15.

A hearing for Raul Garcia, a 20-year-old junior, is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. Garcia is being held on a $2 million bond. Garcia is facing burglary theft and handgun charges, according to court documents.

Three loaded weapons were found at the Kensington school last month, one of which was fired, lodging a bullet in the wall of a bathroom stall. Police said the weapons were brought to the school with the intent to sell to other students. The school was placed on lockdown and six students were charged, including four as juveniles.

Police said the weapons were stolen from another student’s home in the 12300 block of Dalewood Drive in Silver Spring on April 6.

Walter Martinez, 21, an alumnus of Einstein High School, was charged with conspiracy to commit burglary, theft over $500 and possession of stolen credit cards, according to court documents.

Police said a search warrant was issued on April 17 for Martinez’s home, in the 3000 block of Medway Street in Wheaton, as part of the ongoing investigation and he was found to be in possession of stolen items. He posted a $2,500 bond on April 18.

He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on May 19.

Four other students are being charged as minors for their roles in the theft of the guns, bringing them to school and firing one.