Gilroy students return to class with extra counselors, security

ByJobina Fortson KGO logo
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Gilroy students return to class with extra counselors, security
Students in the Gilroy Unified School District are returning to school today. It's only been two and a half weeks since a gunman opened fire at the Garlic Festival.

GILROY, Calif. (KGO) -- The first day of school is often filled with nervous jitters and excitement, but in the case of Gilroy Unified students, it's also a day where you'll find additional security and counselors. Bracelets that read #GilroyStrong were handed to students at the front gate of Gilroy High School.

"You could say we've been preparing for today since the shooting," Superintendent Dr. Deborah Flores said.

Gilroy was already what many would call a close-knit community, but now they're bound by tragedy. Just over two weeks ago, a gunman opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. He killed three people, including a 6-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl. At least a dozen others were injured. The festival is a popular spot for school fundraisers.

"When the shooting occurred we had literally, we're estimating at least 500 students and family members when the shooting occurred," Dr. Flores said. "It's just a very-- it's just incredible that they got out safely."

Since then, Dr. Flores said they've had hundreds of students use the available counseling services. For the first week of classes, two additional counselors will be on hand at all 15 district schools. Extra security is on sight as well and teachers have been trained on how to handle students still grieving.

"If they need help, they should talk to someone about it," Yainet Tance, a Gilroy High School parent said. "Just make sure that your feelings are heard."

Yainet and her husband Silviu were at the Gilroy Garlic Festival with their family the day before the shooting. They've discussed the tragedy with their children.

"I mean yeah absolutely we have concerns," Silviu said.

Tricia Reineccius, also a Gilroy High School parent, seemed to have just one worry.

"Safety," Reineccius said. "But, I mean Gilroy has been pretty good. I went here too. They're pretty on top of stuff."

The superintendent plans to keep it that way. At the end of every school day, administrators plan to hold a meeting to discuss the extra resources and when or if they should stop. The extra security and counselors will be in place throughout the week.

See more stories on the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting.