JMHS students protest in demand of safer conditions on campus. Their sign reads, "This the new normal?" (Grace Atkin)


Stabbing at John Marshall High School prompts student protest

Marshall students walked out Oct. 20 in demand of feeling safer at school after a stabbing on campus the day prior.
<a href="" target="_self">Grace Atkin</a>

Grace Atkin

October 27, 2022
John Marshall High School students walked out and took to the streets and hallways October 20 after a stabbing occurred on campus the day before. Students protested in demand to feel safer in schools through restorative justice and increasing mental health resources for students and faculty. 

Prompted by three consecutive days of potential harm toward students, protestors expressed that the lack of restorative justice and mental health services leaves them disgusted and dissatisfied. They expressed their concern for their safety beginning at nutrition break, their 20-minute break at 10:35 a.m., and didn’t quiet down until the beginning of their fourth period around noon.

“When we have this conversation, it’s not just for Marshall. It’s for all of LAUSD,” said Rocky Casillas, the primary leader of the walkout.

Before conquering the main building’s hallways, ABC7 interviewed the leaders while other members made signs out of scrap cardboard. 

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A few weeks ago, a significant shooting threat led to countless speculation about our safety on campus. On October 17, the school went on lockdown for a misinterpreted text regarding gun possession. On October 18, students were locked out and prevented from leaving campus after school, resulting in some students hopping the fences and cutting their hands. On October 19 was a stabbing after school, also making headlines. 

As the protest continued, passing drivers honked their horns in support while some administrators monitoring the situation laughed. However, many took this event seriously amongst students and teachers, criticizing those using this as an opportunity to ditch class. 

Leaders of the protest met with our superintendent and administration to discuss plans of action once most students left. They discussed a range of topics — addressing the ineffectiveness of tardy sweeps and other petty punishments for students instead of addressing the root of the problem.

Student protestors advocated for better mental health services, including more efficient advertisements and awareness for students and faculty. They noted that many teachers express extreme stress from outside factors, like rising gas prices or socio-political issues. 

They noted that some faculty expect respect from their students, even as they take pride in catching us in tardy sweeps. 

Students requested more transparency with students during crisis events, like being looped into emails to teachers or given more information instead of a risk level. Their reasoning is if they must text their families per request from the principal, they should have the right to know what’s prompting them to do so. 

Administrators and the superintendent expect to meet with students again soon with a developed plan of action based on their requests.