Stagg High School Student Leaders Encourage Peace after Violence at Protests

STOCKTON -- After what was supposed to be a peaceful protest by Stagg High School students turned destructive on Friday student leaders stepped up Monday to call for a change.

For Tenyiah Washington, Sara Abdeltawab and Marissa Pimentel, who are involved in Stagg High School leadership, Friday was a complete surprise.

"It started off good, like I see some chants going on, people trying to express their condolences," Washington, a junior, told FOX40.

Arrests and damage marred what was supposed to be a peaceful protest, and a social media post calling for another walkout Monday put many at the school on edge.

"We were so scared this morning," Washington told FOX40. "My heart is just racing, like 'please God.' Like, I’ve just been praying all day, like, 'God, don’t let that happen again.'"

While prayers surely helped, the three had devised a plan over the weekend with one goal in mind.

"How do we change the perspective that people have of Stagg High School after that?" Abdeltawab, a senior, said.

Over the PA system, the student leaders called for students to stay at school and attend a rally at lunch in the gym, where students wrote notes to the victims of the Parkland, Florida shooting on a banner that will soon be sent to the school.

"I feel like the way we handled it, it took a different course," Abdeltawab said. "We actually did get to have a peaceful protest in our gym. Take time to talk about 17 reasons why protest is important and to do it the right way to represent the lives that were lost in Florida."

Faculty applauded the three for the plan they devised

"Friday was an aberration and I’m proud of these kids. And I thought they showed today what we are really about," said Activities Director Ryan Berg. "When things go wrong, we have to rebound and hope we come back better and stronger. And I think they did that today. I hope it is a positive step moving forward."

It’s a step the three leaders plan to take, and in a world they know is willing to listen, they want to make sure it represents the true Stagg High School.

"It may not change what happened but it’s a step in the right direction," Washington said. "Instead of letting something like that happen again, at least we are trying to do it the right way, the peaceful way without embarrassing our school and destructing someone’s property."

Aside from the banner, the students also put together apology letters to law enforcement.