Students Demand Safety After Stabbing at John Marshall
School alumni protested after the stabbing of two students on campus
On October 20, about 500 students at John Marshall High School marched out of school in response to the on-campus stabbing that happened just the day before. The students protested during a break, demanding increased security efforts after two students were stabbed.
Nina Buranasombati, a Los Angeles School Police Department spokesperson, stated that the stabbing took place around 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday. While authorities initially detained a suspect, he was released hours later. Buranasombati declared the individual was not held any longer as no weapon was found in his possession. The spokeswoman said she could not comment on whether or not the suspect was a student.
School police Deputy Chief, Glenn Besunder, informed the press that officials from the Los Angeles Police Department also questioned the person of interest before the individual was released.
School officials confirmed the students injured in the stabbing at John Marshall were released from the hospital in the morning.
The students believe the stabbings happened after a different on-campus incident on Monday where a student was assaulted in a classroom. School officials did not comment on the Monday attack but stated that a mental health group had been sent to the school.
A 15-year-old, 10th-grade student said she saw one of the two stabbings, which happened in the area with basketball courts and classrooms. According to the girl, four upset students appeared to strike another student when one of the attackers stabbed him in the abdomen.
Students Suggest New Safety Measures
Many of the Marshall students who walked out believe that the school administrators needed to do a better job of keeping the kids safe. Among the suggestions were increased safety standards such as accessible mental health counseling. They also think the school needs a more robust security presence and random searches for weapons and drugs. While the majority of students want to prioritize security, not all of them are in favor of these measures.
10th-grader Gabrielle Ghazarian stated random searches would be an invasion of privacy. Still, she believes these measures could “make sure everyone was safe.”
Her classmate, Marina Wells, disagrees with the idea of having a police officer on campus. “I don’t think we would need a school police officer if the administration was taking more care of the student’s mental health and just figuring out what’s going on with the students,” she said.
John Marshall Implements Interim Actions
Principal Gary Garcia reported about the proceedings in a message to the parents last Thursday, stating that increased supervision and more mental health counseling were a priority. “Our supervision staff is conducting hourly perimeter gate and fence checks,” Garcia said.
Garcia added that interim measures include more police presence. “You will see increased patrols by the Los Angeles School Police Department, especially during the morning and afternoon safe passage times,” he explained. Two school police officers were already assigned to the school for the next weeks.
The principal also indicated that they have “social psychiatric workers on site to assist both staff and students with their mental or emotional needs.”
Escalating Incidents in the Los Angeles Unified School District
The stabbing at John Marshall is one of the latest troubling incidents in the area. Several events have highlighted safety concerns in the Los Angeles Unified School District. The school just across the street, Grant High School, had a student hospitalized for gunfire in June. In September, there was another student stabbing episode.
Also in September, a girl passed away because of a fentanyl-laced pill in the bathroom at Bernstein High in Hollywood. The 15-year-old girl had received the pill from another student on campus. Two boys belonging to another high school were arrested in connection with the incident.
Because of the need for immediate action, Los Angeles schools Supt. Alberto Carvalho is preparing to unveil a new school protection program. Carvalho has also vowed to make public information about drug use campus by campus.
Organizations such as Students Deserve, United Teachers Los Angeles and the ACLU disagree with Carvalho’s measures. The different associations sent a letter to the principal and school board resisting notions to expand school police presence.
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Seeing our children suffer is one of the worst pains for parents. Unfortunately, nowadays, it is increasingly common to see news related to terrible events for teenagers. Especially in the Los Angeles area. Lack of safety, poor mental health control, or fights lead to violent incidents. If you or someone you care about has experienced a situation similar to the John Marshall stabbing, don’t hesitate to report it.
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