The Angel of North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino

An Angel got his wings on Monday, much too early. A student at North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Eight-year-old Jonathan Martínez died shortly after arriving at the hospital and was shot while standing behind his teacher in his special education classroom. There should never be violence in the classroom, but this tragedy happened. Today we mourn the loss of this young, sweet life, and we feel sadness for his parents and his family.

Jonathan was also a baseball player and was loved by his teammates who held a vigil for him on Monday night in San Bernardino. Ironically, Jonathan was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome* and had survived and beat the odds twice in his early life already. A bullet was too much for little Jonathan to overcome. There were approximately 15 students in the classroom. Jonathan and another student were standing next to their teacher at the time of the attack. For all the students who witnessed the horrific shooting and who will now have to deal with the very real repercussions of witnessing this type of event, it will not be easy. The district is providing counseling and resources for the students and families, but this is extremely difficult for children of this age to process.

All of this is all bad.  We must do a better job as a society in protecting our kids.

As a mother, a grandmother, a former teacher in this district and a comadre to you all, I cannot imagine the moment in which Jonathan’s parents were informed that their child was a victim of the classroom shooting. This is a parent’s worst nightmare.   

Rest in Paradise Jonathan…the angel of North Park Elementary

Jonathan’s family has set up a GoFundMe account for funeral expenses. To donate, please visit

*Williams syndrome is a developmental disorder that affects many parts of the body. This condition is characterized by mild to moderate intellectual disability or learning problems, unique personality characteristics, distinctive facial features, and heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) problems.

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Leticia Chavez-Garcia

Leticia Chavez-Garcia

Leticia Chavez-Garcia is a Mother, Grandmother, former Middle School Teacher, former Member of a School Board of Education and an Education Advocate for hundreds of parents and students in the Inland Empire. Having become a mother at 15, Leticia knows what it’s like to be a single mother trying to navigate the education system. Leticia received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science and Public Administration from California Baptist University and a Masters’ Degree in Education Technology from Cal State Fullerton in her 30’s. Leticia has used her knowledge and experience to help hundreds of families as an Education Advocate in the Inland Empire and currently works as an Education Specialist.

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