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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Gabrielino students walkout against gun violence

    By Christopher Lung

    World Editor

    During the National School Walkout Day on March 14, Gabrielino High School students gathered in the quad at 10 a.m. to commemorate the 17 lives lost in the Stoneman Douglas shooting in Florida a month earlier and voice their opinions on gun violence. The tragedy prompted Southern California school districts and authorities to increase safety and awareness.

    The event, which lasted for 17 minutes to honor each life lost in the shooting, was organized by seniors Annabelle Cook and Jasmine Lam, juniors Thomas Chung and Amanda Holguin, and sophomores Kayla Gochez and Ana Lopez.

    Chung led the event by introducing what the purpose of the walkout was for, and an orange balloon was released by students for each of the lives lost. Gochez called for a moment of silence, which was followed by speeches made by Chung and junior Ayesha Sirimane that called for action against gun violence.

    “We organized the walkout so that students would be able to have a voice–a voice in solidarity with the lives lost and a voice demanding for action,” stated Chung.

    A day after the Parkland incident, the San Gabriel Unified School District issued a statement that reaffirmed the district’s commitment in protecting and supporting students through increased collaboration with city law enforcement officials and mental counseling programs.

    According to the Los Angeles Times, local law enforcement officials said that they have seen a surge in tips about potential school shootings and school violence threats in 2018.

    From mid-February to early March, local schools in Southern California reported over 30 school threats, with several incidents developing in the neighboring cities of Alhambra and Whittier.  

    On Feb. 21, a Mark Keppel High School substitute teacher, Peter, was dismissed from his job after failing to immediately report a threatening comment to school officials. The suspect, who has not been identified with a name or gender, allegedly made violent threats the day before.

    Alhambra Unified School District (AUSD) worked in conjunction with Alhambra Police Department and the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health to investigate the situation. The suspect was detained on Feb. 21 by authorities, which determined that the threat was not credible.

    Although the termination of the substitute teacher’s long-term contract was still pending, AUSD spokeswoman Toby Gilbert stated that “reporting 24 hours later is never acceptable and grounds for a loss of confidence release.”

    Two days following the Florida massacre, a mass shooting plot was thwarted at Whittier’s El Camino High School after the school resource officer Marino Chavez overheard a disgruntled student threatening to “shoot up the school sometime in the next three weeks.” Chavez, a school security guard, reported this threat to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

    After further investigation, deputies discovered that the student had an extensive disciplinary history at school and found two semi-automatic AR-15 rifles, two handguns, and 90 magazines inside his home. Although one of those weapons was registered with his older brother, 28-year-old Army Veteran Daniel Barcenas, the other was not registered with the California authorities.

    The suspect, whose name has not been released because he is a minor, was charged with issuing criminal threats. His older sibling was arrested under suspicion of possessing unregistered weapons.

    The previous day, officials investigated a separate incident at the same school in which a 15-year-old student allegedly threatened an administrator’s life because of his suspension for using his cellphone in class. However, the student was incapable of carrying out his threat, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

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    Gabrielino students walkout against gun violence