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Police Incident at Santa Teresa High School
November 15, 2001

Email from Chip Gaston, Associate Principal, Santa Teresa High School

I am writing this e-mail to clarify details involving the fight that took place after school yesterday and to dispel some inaccurate rumors surrounding this incident.

After sixth period yesterday, a Santa Teresa student and a group of outsiders (one of whom attended ST part of last year) "jumped" another Santa Teresa student near the bus loading zone in the Student/Staff Parking Lot. During the fight, the student who was being "jumped" pulled out and brandished a gun before passing it off to another Santa Teresa student. The gun was not fired. The outsiders and Santa Teresa student quickly took off in a car, and the student being "jumped" who had brandished the gun was brought into the office along with another student who had intervened on his behalf. The student who had been handed the gun ran off campus.

The student and his witness were questioned by Santa Teresa staff and later by San Jose police department officers, who had been called by the ST staff. I spoke to San Jose PD officers last night and this morning, and here is what has happened:

  1. The police went to the home of the student who had been passed the gun last night and arrested him and booked him into Juvenile Hall.
  2. The student who brought the gun onto campus was cited. SJPD plan to pick him up today. (Yes, the officers I spoke to were appalled-as was I- that he was not taken into custody yesterday. That is supposed to be remedied today.)
  3. The police have the name of the student who was with the outsiders and they will pay him a visit today. At least one of the outsiders has been identified and the police will also question him.
  4. Each of the students involved, in addition to whatever punishments come by way of the judicial system, will also face very severe discipline from the school and the district. Some disciplinary action has already been taken by us, and there will be more to follow.
  5. The police and the school continue their investigations of this incident. I have been told by SJPD officers that this incident is NOT connected with the Gunderson incident at the light rail last year, as some of the rumors may have stated. I have been promised that any new information the police receive will be given to us, and we will, likewise, share any new information we receive with them. We are working together on this.

We are taking every step possible to continue to insure that Santa Teresa remains a safe campus. I have activated our Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT), which in addition to police brings in resources from a number of city and county agencies. In addition, there will be an added police presence on campus and in the community over the next few days until we break for Thanksgiving.

There is something else that will be very helpful to our safety efforts here at Santa Teresa, and for this we need YOUR help. One of the goals in our Safety Plan is: "Reduce/Eliminate student tolerance for dangerous situations (i.e., knowledge that another student is in possession of a weapon, student(s) planning to fight, etc.) and get them to report these situations to school officials." Please encourage you sons and daughters to do this. We do get students who DO inform us of potential problems in advance. But there is room for improvement.We would much rather be proactive than reactive, and with ALL of us working together, we will continue to maintain a safe campus and enhance the climate here at Santa Teresa for all who enter our facilities.

Thank you for your concern and help.


Chip Gaston
Associate Principal

Update to police incident - November 20, 2001

Email from Chip Gaston, Associate Principal, Santa Teresa High School

Mrs. Campi and other ST Parents,

The student who brought the gun to school WAS arrested and is still in custody (as far as the latest information I have as of today). I am open to suggestions as to how we prevent students from carrying weapons of any type onto campus. I think the ST Parents e-mail group, communicating with other parents about monitoring their children, is an excellent vehicle. Our Dress Expectations prohibits such dress items as chains, studded bracelets, etc. If the parents encourage, as I requested, their sons and daughters to inform us whenever they know of an unsafe or potentially dangerous situation caused (or about to be caused) by students, I think this can have a major impact. We have to get the students to see these actions as being in their best interest and not as "snitching."

If you have ideas, please feel free to e-mail them to me at or call me at 347-6220.

Thanks for your support.

Chip Gaston

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