Placeholder Image Santa Rosa Teachers Association banner displayed Wednesday
photo credit: Noah Abrams/KRCB

Fallout from the fatal March 1st stabbing at Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa continues. This week saw numerous student demonstrations, a packed community listening session and a board of education meeting.

Today the suspect appeared in court. 

More safety, more supervision, and more support.

Those have been the main asks from educators, parents, community members, and students like Juan Vazquez, who spoke outside the Santa Rosa City Schools board meeting Wednesday.

"I definitely would not want to be a board member," Vazquez said. "There's no pleasing everyone, but they need to do better. They need to take more action. They need to really actually address these issues that are systemic."

Vazquez said there's no excuse to not act quickly on a slate of issues, beyond just violence in schools.

"We need our SROs back or some sort of alternative," Vazquez. "The board need to implement policies to address the issue of mental health between students and teachers and the drug issue among students without making them feel like they're criminals."

"We also need a more diverse and better staff among schools," Vazquez said. "If teachers aren't connecting the students and students don't feel comfortable to open up to them, then there's no point in implementing these new policies. There also needs to be some sort of action taken, so staff members in school take beef between students more seriously, so no future altercations gradually get more violent."

Will Lyon, a teacher at Santa Rosa High, also addressed issues facing Santa Rosa’s schools.

"This is an issue to me that is as important as Covid," Lyon said. "In Covid, we lost zero students to the virus and now we're in Covid recovery and we've lost one to the brokenness that's come out of that and our inability to meet the kids where they're at."

Issues, Lyon said are having real repercussions.

"We softened up on discipline a lot because of Covid and that made sense and the pendulum swung too far." Lyon said. "The kids are behaving unsafe and not getting disciplined, and so they don't feel safe, so then they have to take safety into their own hands or they're anxious and don't come to school. We have a lot of truancy. We also have academic issues."

The March 1st stabbing was not on the official board agenda Wednesday night, meaning Board members could not comment on the matter themselves, only hear public comment.

The 15-year-old arrested for fatally stabbing schoolmate Jayden Pienta, remains in custody after a hearing Friday morning at the county’s Juvenile Justice Center.

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