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Perth Amboy students walk out in protest over stabbing of 11-year-old Smailyn Jimenez

Parents, students, teachers rally for school safety in Perth Amboy, N.J.
Parents, students, teachers rally for school safety in Perth Amboy, N.J. 01:54

PERTH AMBOY, N.J. -- Students in Perth Amboy walked out of class Monday morning in a protest over their safety. 

The walkout came after police said 11-year-old Smailyn Jimenez was stabbed on his way home from Samuel Shull Middle School last week. 

Hundreds of high school students walked out and marched to Shull, where another 11-year-old student allegedly attacked Jimenez with a knife and caused him serious injuries. 

"We do not feel safe here and things need to change. Because nothing is going to happen if you all keep sitting here doing nothing," said student Sarina Lebreault. 

Smailyn Jimenez, 11, was rushed into surgery and sedated for days. CBS2

The frustrated students blame the stabbing of the fifth grader on the district's alleged inaction against violence. 

"This school is out of control. There needs to be a change as soon as possible. This is going way overboard. Kids are getting jumped, fights everyday, knives everyday," said Wendy Deleon, a parent. 

"The other day I was walking to the bathroom from electives and there was blood on the floor and I didn't know what happened," said Brieanne Mestre, a middle school student. 

Jimenez's family told CBS2 he was out of the Intensive Care Unit and in stable condition. The 11-year-old suspect was arrested on juvenile delinquency charges. 

Parents said the district rarely notifies them about acts of violence and that their calls for metal detectors and backpack searches fell on deaf ears. 

Deleon said her 11-year-old daughter has been too scared to return to school. 

"Every single day after lunch is when it most often happens. If you go the long way, all the kids start running and some kids fall. The teachers are screaming, the security guard has to come and stop all the fights," said Mestre.

Students and parents protest outside Perth Amboy City Hall 01:54

Students said they want the superintendent, mayor and Board of Education to take action, adding they were disappointed no public officials came outside Monday to address their concerns. 

"Everything could have been prevented. But, it came to a case that someone got hurt. That's just unacceptable, it's sad," said Leeah Gutierrez, a high school student.

"It shows how cowardly they are. It really does, because look at this out here, all these people and yet nothing," said Lebreault.

On Monday night, parents, students and teachers gathered outside City Hall to make their frustrations known. They want upgraded safety protocols at Shull.

"It's a lot of fights sometimes, a lot of like students going off," eighth grader Lanyah Wilson said.

"There's a whole bunch of fights. You get bullied for anything, basically," seventh grader Yadieliz Vina said.

"I want to see changes where as for overall, students are not afraid to go to school. Parents are not afraid to send their children to school," said Nina Waters, a mother of a Shull student.

Perth Amboy's district sent out a statement that said, in part, that the walkout was "encouraged by individuals with political objectives." The district added it supports the students' freedom of speech, but "they should not do so during school hours."

The statement also said, "All of us need to work together to ensure the safety of our students." 

Perth Amboy School District

In a previous joint statement, the police, city and Board of Education said they "condemn and will not tolerate acts of violence against any community members, especially our children."

Whatever the solution is, the parents outside City Hall said they desperately hope it is found soon.

"My daughter ... she comes home every day with a story -- 'Mom, there was a fight in school. Mom, a student hit a teacher,'" Monica Davis said.

The people in Perth Amboy are clearly worried this won't be the last time a student gets hurt.

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