School Safety Officer Kills Young Mother and Reminds Us Why Armed Police Don’t Belong in Schools

A Long Beach Unified School Police Officer who shot 18-year-old Mona Rodriguez, a young mother that was declared brain dead after the incident, has been charged with murder.  Mona was involved in a fight with a 15-year-old girl in the Millikan High School parking lot, where she was subsequently shot by a Long Beach School Safety Officer on September 27th. Mona was on life support and being kept alive by artificial means long enough for her family to say goodbye to her and so doctors could prepare her organs for donation.  Her family was invited to say their goodbyes and she was taken off life support. Mona’s organs saved the lives of five people. 

This senseless tragedy could have been avoided. The facts are that Mona was involved in a fight and she tried to flee the scene, but the school safety officer did not have to shoot Mona. The tires of the vehicle she drove away in could have been shot.  A video has gone viral, though we warn you that it is graphic, and it shows the officer shooting twice at the vehicle Mona was in.

Mona was shot in the back of the head by at least one of the two shots fired into the vehicle. The family is calling for the officer to be charged and argues that the officer was not in imminent danger. The officer, Eddie F. Gonzalez, had been with the district, according to the school district, since January 10, 2021. Gonzalez has since been fired from his position and this week the former officer was charged with the murder of Mona Rodriguez.  

Many law enforcement officers and specialists have chimed in and agreed that the officer was not in imminent danger and that the shooting was not justified and should not have happened.  It certainly didn’t seem justified to us either.

We ask this question once again, do we really need armed police officers in our schools? No, we don’t. Many districts have already begun shifting away from maintaining an armed and expensive police presence on their campus. It’s time to have a very deliberate and serious conversation about how we can truly protect students without police services.

If you want to continue to support the Rodriguez family including her toddler during this difficult time, please amplify Mona’s story by sharing this gofundme and donating. 

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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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