Santa Rosa students demand more resources in wake of deadly school stabbing

J.R. Stone Image
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Santa Rosa students demand more resources after school stabbing
Santa Rosa students, parents and educators came together to discuss school safety after a 16-year-old was stabbed and killed at Montgomery High.

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- Less than a week after a 16-year-old student was stabbed and killed in a Santa Rosa high school classroom, the community came together Tuesday night.

A safety meeting, or "listening session" as it was called, was held where people were able to voice their opinions on what should be done going forward to better keep students safe.

Hundreds of parents, students and educators packed into Santa Rosa's Friedman Event Center Tuesday night.

While the opening music aimed to set the mood, the focus was safety in the classroom amidst numerous recent incidents. Those include the stabbing death of Jayden Pienta at Montgomery High School last Wednesday and numerous lockdowns at Maria Carrillo High School.

RELATED: Santa Rosa school stabbing: Victims' families say administration 'failed' students in campus safety

"In the last 14 days, my daughter had two full scale evacuations. Four shelters in place, one of those being a full lockdown where the kids have to assemble their desks and barricade the doors, put paper up in the windows and then hide behind the desks," said Amie Glass whose daughter is a sophomore.

Parents are not happy and students - dozens of whom spoke to the crowd - are not satisfied with the current resources available. It highlights the dire need for social workers, therapists, and other roles to support the mental health of students and teachers.

"Counselors, yes, starting from the root which is mental health. That is the key," said student Eden Glass.

"I want to know that I'm able to go to school safe and I want to know to my friends and my fellow peers are going to be safe," said high school senior Jada Giles.

VIDEO: Heartbroken family mourns loss of 16-year-old stabbed to death at a Santa Rosa high school

Family members are mourning the loss of 16-year-old Jayden Pienta, who was stabbed to death at Santa Rosa's Montgomery High School by another student.

Tuesday night's meeting wasn't about getting instant changes, but rather starting the conversation about what can be done going forward when it comes to school safety.

"The solutions are going to not be just on what happened, but really on what is happening or might happen, said Dr. David Schonfeld of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement.

Even the district admits that more needs to be done.

"We acknowledge that we can and we need to do better, so thank you for being here," said Santa Rosa City Schools board president Stephanie Manieri.

RELATED: Santa Rosa students stage walkout demanding safer school conditions following fatal stabbing

While adults here seem to be split on the possibility of bringing back student resource officers, many students who spoke are against the idea.

"I feel like having a police officer on campus would only amplify my anxiety, I feel like. It saddens me to know that we've gotten that point," said Giles.

"First and foremost, I want to feel safe at school. I do not feel safe at school. My teachers don't feel safe at school. I don't know a single student who feels safe at school and that needs to change," said Eden Glass.

Some of the students even pushed for COVID-19 relief funding to be used for new employees to support their mental health going forward.

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