High school students in Stockton, California walked out of school last Friday to demand more gun control in the wake of the Parkland shooting in Florida. However, some of the kids turned violent and began throwing rocks at cars and a handful got into a fight with a police officer. From KCRA:
Students at Stagg, Edison, Chavez, Lincoln and Village Oak high schools were walking along streets, creating traffic problems in the area as streets were blocked off.
Stockton police said some students threw rocks and damaged both police and citizen vehicles.
Five arrests were made, including charges of battery on an officer, resisting arrest, taking an officer’s baton and vandalizing vehicles, including patrol vehicles, Stockton police said.
Stockton PD released a statement on Facebook describing what happened in more detail:
During one incident, as a Stockton Police Officer was patrolling the area of a high school which was on lockdown, the officer saw several students leaving campus by jumping a fence. The officer went to contact the students when the students fought with the officer and took his baton. A citizen saw what was happening and came to the officer’s aid until more officers arrived. The following students were arrested:
Verania Cervantes, 18, for battery on an officer and resisting arrest. She was booked into the S.J. County Jail.
A 15 year old male for battery on an officer, taking an officer’s baton, and resisting arrest;
A 14 year old male for battery on an officer and resisting arrest;
A 17 year old female for battery on an officer and resisting arrest; and
A 16 year old female for battery on an officer and resisting arrest.
All the juveniles were cited to their parents.
Stockton police also released some photos showing damage to vehicles and a shoe print on a police officer’s ribs.
— Stockton Police Dept (@StocktonPolice) February 23, 2018
Obviously, I don’t support this sort of lawless behavior, but of all the causes that students are expected to care about these days, this one at least makes some sense. Students are understandably worried about school shootings. And given the failure of law enforcement in Florida (and at the FBI), it’s hard to blame students for not feeling confident that they can trust their safety to the police. That’s not fair to most officers in my opinion, but the image of Scot Peterson waiting outside while the shots were going off is going to stick with a lot of people.
And the potential threat is real. Just yesterday, Stockton PD were called to a school after teachers discovered a student had written up plans for how he would attack the school:
The investigation indicated the student had written plans on how he was going to commit the shooting. Detectives and the student’s parents were notified. A search of the student’s home was conducted and nothing illegal was located. The student, a 14-year-old male, was booked into San Joaquin County Juvenile Hall on terrorist threats.
So a student protest over this issue doesn’t seem unreasonable to me, even if I don’t agree with the solutions being pushed by a lot of these kids. But turning that protest into a riot doesn’t help anyone. And anyone who physically attacks a police officer needs to be treated as a threat to the community and dealt with. Here’s a local news report on the protest from Fox40.