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Santa Rosa Montgomery HS administrators placed on leave after deadly stabbing, new weapons arrests

Montgomery High administrators placed on leave after deadly stabbing, new weapons arrests
Montgomery High administrators placed on leave after deadly stabbing, new weapons arrests 01:03

SANTA ROSA -- The principal and assistant principal at the Santa Rosa high school where a student was fatally stabbed during a fight have been placed on leave after two more students were arrested for bringing knives onto school grounds.

The announcement was made as Santa Rosa City Schools shared their action plan "to address safety and security" on the district's campuses in the wake of the deadly incident at Montgomery High School earlier this month that took the life of 16-year-old junior Jayden Pienta. 

At the end of a statement that said former Montgomery High Principal Laurie Fong would be returning to serve in the position for the remainder of the school year, it noted that both Principal Adam Paulson and Assistant Principal Tyler Ahlborn were on leave. Fong had previously served as the principal at the school for 10 years ending in 2016. It also noted that Fong would be stepping down from her position on the Board of Education in order to return to her old job at Montgomery High.

The statement said the move "allows her [Fong] to return to MHS to be part of the healing and to work closely with the district and school community as we build the security and social emotional supports for the school." Two former site administrators, Kaesa Enemark and Ryan Thompson, will be joining the administrative team at the school to support Fong and the Montgomery High community.    

The announcement of Paulson and Ahlborn being on leave came after two more students were arrested Saturday for having knives at the school. Santa Rosa police said they learned about the two students being sent home when they were caught with knives on the Montgomery High campus Friday afternoon after a parent called and informed authorities of the incident after the parent was notified by a letter from school administrators. 

At the time the notification went out to parents, MHS administrators had not yet informed police about the incidents. Police learned that school administrators had initiated their own investigation into students having knives on campus from a social media post. When the 15-year-old student in question was called to the office, he passed an object to a second 17-year-old male student. School staff confiscated the object, which was a folding-style locking knife with a 4-inch blade. 

Both students were brought to the MHS administrative office, where school officials found a fixed-blade hunting knife after searching the 17-year-old student's backpack. The blade of the knife measured seven and a half inches in length. At the completion of their investigation, school officials administered discipline to both students and sent them home with their parents. 

Knives found on Montgomery High students
Knives found on Montgomery High students. Santa Rosa Police Department

Police received a call about the two students from a school administrator at 8:30 p.m. Friday night. An officer interviewed the administrator, who identified the involved students and gave police the knives that were found. Both students were arrested on Saturday for felony possession of a weapon on a school campus. Police are still investigating why the students brought knives on campus. 

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The district's action plan additionally outlined how the district would be increasing supervision and security at all high school campuses with staff from the district and the Sonoma County Office of Education. The district is also working with the Santa Rosa Police Department to create long-term strategies for safety. 

Over the weekend, SRPD Chief Cregan and Santa Rosa City Schools Superintendent Anna Trunnell had further discussions regarding school safety in the wake of the latest two arrests. The superintendent requested that the chief assign Officer Luigi Valencia to Montgomery High on Monday and Tuesday to "support MHS staff with maintaining a safe learning environment for students and teachers."   

Police said patrol officers would also be making security checks at other Santa Rosa high school campuses between other calls for service.

The district's action plan also outlined the emotional and mental support that would be made available to students and staff as well as the establishment of  The full plan is available for parents to read in English or Spanish on the Santa Rosa City Schools website

There was no indication in the plan whether Paulson and Ahlborn might possibly return to the school or if they were facing disciplinary action following the fatal stabbing and the latest arrests. 

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