Parents demand answers following attack on student at Casa Grande High School in Petaluma
PETALUMA — Two students wearing ski masks stormed a classroom at Casa Grande High School in Petaluma and attacked another student last month. Now parents, students and some teachers say they are not happy how the school handled the incident.
Many parents were furious that day, saying they weren’t notified about the incident for hours after, and a lockdown wasn’t initiated after the suspects got away. That outrage turned into action on Wednesday as parents and the district worked together to find solutions to the violence.
“The more I thought about it, the more it made me angry,” said parent Jennifer Inden. “That there was a lack of response and lack of accountability specifically in the school administration that we have a policy in place but we didn’t put it into practice.”
Inden said she read an email from the school about the attack on a student and had questions.
“I can’t be the only one angry about this,” she said. “We have to as parents have to advocate and advocate for better procedures, better safety measures, better training, better support for faculty and students and administration. All the way around.”
Since then, Inden has been active on social media, speaking out at public meetings and attending a roundtable discussion Wednesday night to address safety in schools.
Assistant Superintendent of Petaluma City Schools Maite Iturri said she feels it’s critical to partner with the community to find solutions.
“We really want to engage with our community and hear what they have to say and hear what kind of solutions they might have,” said Iturri. “We don’t have all the answers.”
With the rash of school violence incidents from the South Bay to Santa Rosa, it’s not just an issue in one particular community. While there are many factors to consider, Iturri says the pandemic impacted kids in so many ways.
“Students really need that structure, the socialization,” said Iturri. “It’s the ABCs but also learning to be with one another, and learning how to interact. And I think a lot of kids have missed that and we’re seeing the consequences of that.”
The solutions are expected to be just as complex as the root of the problem but parents are demanding the school district implement safety measures and have trained staff on campuses to handle these issues.
Inden said she knows parents will have to do their part as well.
“It’s going to take all of us. It is not one organization, entity, or one person’s responsibility,” said Inden. “It’s all of our responsibilities and we have to work together to come out on the other side.”
The two students suspected in the attack were taken into custody.
The district says it will take the information from the meeting and follow up with parents on the next steps.
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