Tuesday's abduction and assault on a 17-year-old Gunn High School student has created a mood of uncertainty and fear on campus, students said today.
"I was completely shocked and just really shaken. I saw another girl ... look for a ... counselor," junior Libby Craig said.
Few felt such an attack was even possible in Palo Alto, she said.
"A lot of people just didn't think it could happen here. We all hear about it happening elsewhere but we didn't think it could happen here, especially on the street our school is on," she said.
The details of the violent incident -- the victim was attacked and dragged into a man's vehicle when walking on Arastradero Road shortly after school -- have deeply disturbed students, they said.
"I was shocked that something like that could happen at 3 p.m. on a pretty busy street after school in the daytime," senior Victoria VanDuyne said.
"I was shocked that it happened at 3 o'clock, when the roads are filled with people," senior Dane Price agreed.
And it no longer feels safe to walk home from school, students said.
"I actually walk at night on that street, and I definitely won't be doing that anymore," VanDuyne said.
"I walk home from school so I'm really scared. I'm actually trying to get a ride home today," Craig said.
Female students in particular feel frightened, she said.
"This is like a girl's worst nightmare," she said.
"I've seen a few girls that were scared about what happened," freshman Matt Hurst said.
But teachers have sought to quell fears, encouraging students to walk in groups and leave cell phones turned on, he said.
And three police officers have been assigned to the Gunn campus today to help restore safety and a sense of security, Palo Alto Police Sgt. Sandra Brown said.