But now the high school is working overtime to change the current perception, and leading the way for positivity and change in their neighborhood.
Let there be peace — the message echoed through the gym of Westwood High during a rally Friday.
The original plan was to march through the streets, but a last-minute switch unified the community indoors for a pep rally with one message.
"We want everyone to know the changes we are making in the community, the changes we are making in the school," said Brittany Butler, who organized the rally.
She said the event is meant to inspire a positive change, promote a more accurate depiction of the school and make students aware of the pain violence brings.
"They always look at Westwood or our community as violence," said Westwood senior Dajae Horton.
The school started putting on the rally her freshman year.
"To me, every year, it becomes better and better," she said.
Horton says her sophomore year Westwood's strong points were overshadowed by a brawl, then this year a fight at a basketball game, but that's not the sum of her neighborhood or her school.
"You just have to get to know us, and let there be peace," she said.
She says whether marching in the streets or bringing that view inside, the point is to change how everyone on the outside sees the place that shaped her.