WATSONVILLE—Watsonville Police on Friday arrested a 17-year-old Pajaro Valley High School student after he was found to be in possession of a loaded gun.
According to Watsonville Police spokeswoman Michelle Pulido, school officials called police just before 11am with a report that a student was possibly armed.
The School Resource Officer assigned to Watsonville High gathered information and coordinated additional officers to respond to the PV High campus, Pulido said.
Within minutes, the SRO found the student and detained him, and found a loaded gun in his backpack. The case is still under investigation.
“We’re thankful that our partnership with the school district resulted in a safe resolution to this incident,” Pulido stated.
PVHS Principal Consuelo Mason said she contacted the PVUSD Superintendent’s office when she learned about the student from a teacher, and initiated the school’s Threat Assessment Protocol.
“Please know that our campus is safe and instructions resumed as normal,” Mason stated in a letter to parents. “Your child’s safety is extremely important to the PVHS staff and we will continue to investigate all possible threats on campus and involve law enforcement when necessary. Campus safety continues to be a priority for us and we take every incident seriously.”
Campus safety and the placement of School Resource Officers has been an issue in PVUSD since July 2020, when the Board of Trustees eliminated the program. Trustees Georgia Acosta and Daniel Dodge Jr. voted against the move.
At the time, supporters said that uniformed police officers on campus focused on minority students, and contributed to the so-called school-to-prison pipeline.
But a little more than one year later, a student was killed on the Aptos High School campus in a violent stabbing attack that many said might have been avoided had there been an SRO on campus.
The incident prompted the Board to bring the program back to Watsonville and Aptos high schools, although Watsonville Police Department is currently evaluating its staffing levels to determine if it can support the position at PV High, Pulido said.
The PVUSD Board of Trustees will discuss the SRO program at the second meeting in March, but it is likely that no action will be taken since it will not be an action item.
Teacher Kevin Cordova said he was frustrated about the lack of information from the district about the incident, and wonders why there were seemingly no safety measures in place during the arrest. He said that eight officers came onto campus during break and arrested the student on the crowded campus.
“Even if we weren’t supposed to be on lockdown, I think I would like to know why that is,” he said.
Cordova also said he sees a lack of preparedness from his school.
“We haven’t had any active shooter drills, or even a lockdown or fire drill of any kind this year,” he said. “I do hope our community understands that we were lucky today. Very lucky.”Mason said that anyone who has information regarding a possible school threat can use the STOPit app.
this is why an SRO police officer is needed at ALL high schools. they do NOT militarize the campus, but rather provide another set of eyes and ears to prevent and intervene in such events, i ask PVUSD board members to leave the program intact.
Thank goodness ST has provided his amazing perspective and advice. If he only could learn how to write a sentence, he might save the world!
What? Did you see the shooting in Steve’s neighborhood? Eagle eye Steve on neighborhood watch?