The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

    Santa Rosa high schools face more alarms one

    Around 11 a.m. on Monday, March 1 a fight broke out in an art classroom at Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa leaving 16-year-old Jayden Pienta dead and another student injured.

    According to Santa Rosa police, a teacher and several teacher’s aides were able to break up the fight. However, moments later the fight continued and the freshman student, a 15-year-old boy, pulled out a folding knife and stabbed the two boys. The fight occurs between a freshman student and two juniors whose names were not released because of age.

    Police responded within four minutes after being notified by the 911 dispatcher. At the conference held by Santa Rosa Police Chief John Cregan, “both the students were alert and conscious and were providing initial statements.” He added, “our medical staff arrived on the scene and quickly started treating the students and they were transported to a local hospital.”

    Pienta sustained his injury later at the hospital. He suffered from three stab wounds in his upper body. The other student, also 16, was stabbed once in his hand but is expected to make full recovery.

    The suspect fled the room after the incident but was found 40 minutes later by Santa Rosa police and the Sonoma county sheriff. He was taken into custody and is to be charged with suspicion of homicide, attempted homicide, assault and bringing a weapon on campus. The weapon has not been found with the suspect and the police are still to retrieve it. Police Chief Cregan, described it as “a folding knife with a black handle and an approximately 4-5-inch blade”.

    According to another 16-year-old student present at the press conference, whose name is also confidential due to age, previous problems were present between the students but nothing has been done by the school. This senior expressed her frustration and blamed the school for the incident. “It’s their job to keep us safe,” said the student.

    A week prior, this same student brought a weapon to school according to a parent, Maria Cervantes. She adds that the same 15-year-old freshman also slashed Pienta’s tires last week.

    The school district did not make or return any attempt to get comments.

    Parents point out the fact that the police had been removed from campus in the summer of 2020 after the killing of George Floyd. Yet, according to Santa Rosa police Sgt. Christopher Mahurin, they had received “97 calls for response from the school in the past 12 months. There were 945 calls for police response for all Santa Rosa schools in 2022,” he said.

    Safety concerns arise among parents as other schools might face violent interaction in the future.

    That same day, minutes before the fatal stabbing, police were called for another incident at a different Santa Rosa high school, Maria Carrillo. A student was reported to the authorities for bringing a gun to school.

    According to Santa Rosa police “After briefly speaking with the student, the student ran from the building and tried to avoid the officers.” During this time, the student tried to get rid of the gun and did not have it with him when he got arrested. However, the weapon was located the next day close to where the student was caught.

    Police wrote “This handgun was similar to what MCHS students reported may have been on campus. The 16-year-old student was later booked into the Sonoma County Juvenile Justice Center for possessing a firearm on campus and obstructing/delaying a police officer.” This student also got in trouble prior to that day as he was arrested for on-campus incidents earlier that week.

    A week prior to that incident, first responders were called to Maria Carrillo High School after a fire broke out on the rear of the art building that was potentially set by another student who later got arrested for “suspicion of arson”.

    Santa Rosa high school students arranged a walkout on Montecito Boulevard as a sign of protest Friday afternoon to express their concern about safety. There are possible plans for more walkouts throughout the week.

    The Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools, Amie Carter, issued the following statement: “We will be engaging in dialogue with Santa Rosa City Schools, law enforcement, and our other school districts to ensure we are doing everything we can to improve student safety.

    Donate to Sonoma State Star

    Your donation will support the student journalists of Sonoma State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    More to Discover
    About the Contributor
    Célia Aline Amaral
    Célia Aline Amaral, Student Life Editor
    Celia Aline Amaral is a senior majoring in communication and media studies.
    Donate to Sonoma State Star