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An emergency meeting in El Cerrito revealed that parents were already concerned about escalating violence at Portola Middle School. The El Cerrito police officer told the group that there will now be an officer posed at the school starting Wednesday. Music teacher Tiffany Carrico was not seriously injured.
Police say on Monday Carrico was assaulted by at least five students while a mob of students watched. During lunch Carrico was preventing a student from entering the building where classes were still in session. Several students told ABC7 the same story that police have reported.
"She said get out and he wouldn't get out and then she hit him with a paper, kind of. Kind of like a hit and he got really mad and he hit her pretty hard," said one student.
"Then everybody started crowding around her, pushing her, yelling at her, getting in her face cussing at her," said another.
Students say the crowd grew to roughly 100 people and one kid pushed her and she fell down the stairs.
Another student claimed that "Everyone was following her, throwing rocks at her and cussing at her and stuff."
"And then she was like 'You know what? Forget this school, forget everything, I'm done with it.' She ran in her band room and closed the door," said another student.
Last Friday Ms. Carrico was named one of six teachers of the year in the West Contra Costa Unified School District. School officials say she's on paid leave while the police department investigates this as a crime. So far, five students have been suspended.
"I didn't know that and I kept my kid home because I wasn't sure what the situation was," said parent Joanie Hiramoto.
At least one parent suggested that Ms. Carrico was part of the problem.
"Volatile actions of a teacher can provoke children beyond anything," said parent Delores Seals.
At Tuesday's meeting school officials said they would increase the number of resource officers from four to six on campus. An El Cerrito police officer will be posted on campus, a parent safety patrol will be implemented, and intramural activates will take place during lunch time.
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