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Gunn student arrested for deadly weapon assault

Original post made on Mar 6, 2012

A senior at Gunn High School was arrested Monday for assault with a deadly weapon after he allegedly attacked one student with a stapler and knocked another unconscious, Palo Alto police said.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, March 6, 2012, 1:35 PM

Comments (24)

Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 6, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Wow! What happens to "troubled" students in this case? Are they expelled from the District?

Posted by Wondering?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2012 at 2:14 pm

> for one count of assault with a deadly weapon

Hmm .. and how many people have been killed with a stapler in the last 100 years?

Posted by Gunn Student, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 6, 2012 at 2:58 pm

This is very heartbreaking. Misael has always been a really nice kid and has worked hard in school and outside of school to provide for himself and his family. He doesn't come from a very privileged home, but he has always tried his hardest, whether it be at school or his job at Three Seasons. (Restaurant in downtown P.A.) He always had a smile on his face and was selfless and nice to all others around him. It was an inspiration to see him work hard in school. He is in the same grade as me and I have grown up with him since 6th grade. This is really sad, because I know he was an honest kid with a very bright future ahead of him.

Posted by Gunn Alum, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 6, 2012 at 4:15 pm

I feel for Misael and hope that this does not put an end to his time at Gunn. This would not have been the same story if he had been a White student from a privileged background. Although I agree that physical violence should not be tolerated, charging a high school student with such a serious crime is not benefitting anyone. Another example of the Prison Industrial Complex at work in Palo Alto's "liberal" bubble.

Posted by mobby, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 6, 2012 at 9:14 pm

mobby is a registered user.

Dats hoot i would have done da same thing if someone stole my phone so i just think that it is not necesarry to throw him in jail!!!!!!! And a stapeler is noottttttttt a deadly weapond. I have also known him for couple years and he is the nicest guy ull meet. He is NOT a bad kid but if u have had a bad day and someone stoll your phone that same thing could happen to u!!! Let Misael go!

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 7, 2012 at 10:46 am

JustMe is a registered user.

"Dats hoot i would have done da same thing if someone stole my phone so i just think that it is not necesarry to throw him in jail!!!!!!! And a stapeler is noottttttttt a deadly weapond. I have also known him for couple years and he is the nicest guy ull meet. He is NOT a bad kid but if u have had a bad day and someone stoll your phone that same thing could happen to u!!! Let Misael go!"

Obviously a product of our school system.

But seriously, we cannot condone the use of violence in our society, and that is especially true in our schools. However there appear to be extenuating circumstances that need to be addressed, such as the alleged cell phone theft, possible bullying, possibly a bad history between these kids.

I do not believe students should be encouraged by societal factors or threats by bullys to not involve teachers and other authoreties in these disputes. Teachers should be counted upon to actually care, and kids should be encouraged to go to them. Picking up a weapon is not a good idea.

As for a stapler being called a "deadly weapon", if it is weilded as such, it becomes one. Whether it is deadly or not depends on how hard you swing it.

Posted by rem, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 7, 2012 at 12:43 pm

rem is a registered user.

I just love the comment - "This would not have been the same story if he had been a White student from a privileged background.".

Yep - The school would have probably "just" called his parents and expelled him for a week.

I hope his friend and other student "picket" the DA and the media...

Posted by allen, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 7, 2012 at 1:14 pm

allen is a registered user.

To the Palo Alto online... why did you lock this site and require people to log in to respond? This is a topic that you people should be able to respond to.

Also, from the sound of things, something happened more than stealing this young man's phone. what else led up to this? I hope administration looks deeply into this and not just focus on this young man. Keep in mind, he is a young man of color he is not white and GUNN will want to make an example of him. Palo Alto please stay visual on this issue and don't let it get swept under the matt.

However, I know this young man has to face consequences for his actions, but what will it be?

Posted by KP, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 7, 2012 at 2:53 pm

KP is a registered user.

This sounds more like a final straw reaction.
I don't know him, but no one, in general, would have gone completely off like that, unless something else had been factoring in to the situation...the big word of the year...bullying?

And I, unfortunately, agree with others, and believe that the Gunn administration may not have called the police had the boy been white. They would have called the parents of all involved and tried to settle everything with a...another big word this year...mediation!

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Weee, a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Weee is a registered user.

The reason why he was charged with assault with a deadly weapon was because he was using the stapler as brass knuckles.

Posted by mtngal, a resident of Triple El
on Mar 7, 2012 at 7:29 pm

mtngal is a registered user.

I appreciate the Gunn student's responses. It gives us uninvolved readers a better perspective. Thank you. Please Palo Alto authorities, be fair!

Posted by frustrated mom, a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 7, 2012 at 10:57 pm

frustrated mom is a registered user.

I worked with Misael and his family since he was in elementary school. He was a very good student even though at that time he was still learning the language, he tried very hard. He was respectful and never got into trouble. He was not one of those students who spent time in the office for misbehaving. His parents work very hard to provide for the family and move to Palo Alto, where they have to pay higher amount for rent, but they did it so their kids could have a better education. His mother attended meetings whenever there were meetings to attend. I remember that she was the one who came up with the idea of having a homework club when she took the parenting class that was giving through the Palo Alto Adult School. At that meeting she said that she had heard that Mountain view had the homework club and that it helped the kids a lot, and she thought kids at Barron Park would really benefit from having a homework club. Months later the homework club at Barron Park became a reality, and many students benefited from it. I think that this homework club still exists. Too bad that the family is going through this difficult times. I am wonder what went wrong at Gunn, the day when Misael reacted like this. I am tending to believe that something had to trigger the reaction. I hope that have a chance to hear from him. Please do not assume that everything you read is the only true. The writer of this report has to report only what they tell her, but I am sure that there is more to it. To bad that Palo Alto on Line did not let more people give their opinions unless they are register users. I see that a lot lots of gun students perceive Misael as I do. I boy who is trying hard, he is not a gang member, he works hard at school and his job. Hope the school gives him another chance, and I hope that the school district takes the time to make a full investigation to get to the bottom of the incident. Again, Misael is not someone who would picking fights. I think that the school needs to have more supervision and security on campus. I might be wrong, but I believe that there is only one Mr. Sanchez. I hope the family can afford a good lawyer so they can help him to get out of this mess, and that the school does not prevent Misael from graduating.

Posted by frustrated mom, a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 7, 2012 at 11:03 pm

frustrated mom is a registered user.

Correction: Sorry I mend to say Misael is NOT someone who would pick fights.

Posted by MMorales, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 8, 2012 at 1:42 am

MMorales is a registered user.

Thank You for all the good comments and support everyone.

I am misael morales sanchez i just want to say that this article makes me look like a criminal and i am not even close to one.
But i want to speak the truth hidden behind this article and i am not accusing of Ms. Sue Dremann of hiding it because she just wrote what she was told i am assuming.
The truth is that before the fight i was doing the right thing. I was asking for help from the teacher and he did help by calling the main office once. around 15 minutes pass by and no one shows up and so he calls a couple more times. And so the teacher and I wait for the campus supervisor to come and help me. And more than 35 minutes pass and still no one shows up. I know the teacher got connected to the main office because i heard him talking to them. so the end of the period arrives and i go out side with the teacher. i tell him i am very upset and he says that he is too. So at the time i was waiting for some one to help me i was printing out an essay and thats where the stapler comes in. But what the article didnt say is that i was being pushed and had been thrown a backpack at my chest and face by the main other student. So i felt frightened and my first reaction was swings with what i had in my hand and it happened to be a stapler. I am sorry for my actions and i am very sorry for the other kid getting hurt.
Ok but that was only the fight i was really disappointed with Gunn Staff
throughout 45-50 minutes of asking for help no one came to help me and the teacher. Now i am thinking what about if it was a life and death situation would they respond??
But thats only one of the problems. the second problem i have is that when i was in the office i over heard assit. princ, the dean, and front desk secretary blaming the teacher for not grabbing the phone and for not having an urgent voice and that why didnt he use the panic button every class has. In my head i am like wow how can you blame this on him?? When he was doing his best in class because he cant lay a hand on a student. I didnt say anything about what they were talking about. then when it was me and assit. princ i asked her why didnt you guys send another person. And she gave me an excuse that her little radio thing wasnt working that she can only speak through it but not hear anything. And that was a big shock to me. As well with the Campus supervisor i asked him where were you i really needed you he told me i couldnt hear anything from the radio.

So in a way thanks to the Gunn Staff My family Mom, Sister, Dad, Even my Baby Brother saw me get arrested for something that could have been avoided by at least one out of all higher authority personnel that could have came and help me. Now ihave to go through all the reqiurements of a $25000 bail that if i dont make one court date i willhave to pay all $25000 and do week ends and anger classes on top of that i have work and 9 classes to graduate high school and try to pursue college.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by frustrated mom, a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 8, 2012 at 7:29 am

frustrated mom is a registered user.

First of all thanks for helping us understand what happened to you. I knew that it had to be a reason for you to react like that. I am sorry to hear that you and the teacher asked for help and did not get it. By not responding, Gunn put you and the rest of students around at risk. I am wonder how the panic bottom works and when are teachers supposed to use it. It seems to me that the teacher was doing the right thing by calling. I do not think that the teacher has a radio to ask for help, so I assume that the emergency help was obstructed because their communication radio did not work. It is scary to know that so many students are there and Gunn does not have a quick way to communicate in case of emergencies. God helps the 2000+ students who are there everyday. I am glad that you are ok physically and that the other student were released from he hospital, and that even though they got hurt, at least no one died. I am concerned that the school did not responded at all to the teacher's call for help. If they knew that the communication radios do not work, why didn't they fixed it. How long have they been broken? You bring out a good point, what about if there is another emergency? Would they respond the same way than they did in your case? My child is supposed to attend Gunn next year, but now I am having second thoughts, I am wonder if Paly has a good plan to respond to this kind of emergencies. Anyone out there who knows?
Misael Please do not give up, keep trying hard so you can succeed and accoplish your goal. I hope you and your family can find a good lawyer. Thanks again for giving us the other side of the story. Good Luck.

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 8, 2012 at 9:36 am

JustMe is a registered user.

The teachers cannot be blamed for anything, they are tenured and beyond reproach.

Why do we have a school system where bullies criminals are permitted full freedom to inflict harm on the good students, and then we punish anyone who tries to defend himself? It sounds like the situation has not changed much in the 40 years since I graduated high school.

Anyone care to ask my why my daughter is homeschooled? It's not the bullies, it's the teachers and administration who permit the bullying and even engage in it themselves. Jordan M.S. has a policy whereby parents are discouraged from intervening on their kids behalf, leaving the teachers free to lie and take advantage of the kids, claiming that the kids should be "self advocating". Picture it, your kid "self advocating" against their teacher, who is demanding they do homework as posted on the web but is not there. So the teacher fails your child and will not listen to your child when he/she explains the reasons the homework isn't done. Or they give makup homework to a child that has been sick, and after much hard work from the kid (and parents because inadaquate information was given and help is not available) they refuse to accept the homework because they closed the books and finalized the grades two week earlier at the time the homework was given. I am STILL furious about that episode and I refuse to hand over my child for more of that abuse.

Posted by Michele Dauber, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 8, 2012 at 10:47 am

Michele Dauber is a registered user.

@Misael: I understand why you would like to give your side of the story but please do not talk about this incident publicly any more at this time. You are being charged with a serious crime and anything you say in a public forum like this can and most likely will be used against you by prosecutors and the police. If you were acting in self defense as your post contends then your lawyer will assist you in presenting evidence of this when the time comes.

I don't know anything about what happened in this case or any of the people involved. But I do know that the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office has a longstanding pattern of ridiculous overreaching and overcharging of felonies for things like marijuana, school fights, and so forth. This may or may not be an example of such over-reaction. Aggravated Assault like ADW is a wobbler - that is, it can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. Whether it is a felony depends on things like type of weapon (stapler versus automatic rifle), severity of injury (cuts and bruises versus traumatic brain injury) and so forth.

If it was indeed a fight that involved mutual punches and objects thrown on both sides with self-defense as an aspect, using a stapler , and no serious injuries then it seems like felony aggravated assault may be an unduly harsh charge. This might particularly be the case if the young person has no criminal background or record, and is gainfully employed in the community. Certainly assault is a serious offense and has consequences for it, including expulsion from the campus and up to one year in county jail. However felony assault with a deadly weapon would result in a 2-4 year sentence in the penitentiary, a felony record which would affect life chances in every aspect, and many other consequences.

I don't know the facts of the case or any of the children involved. But I do believe that the Santa Clara DA has often taken a draconian stance on charging youth that have resulted in ruinous situations for many youth and their families. Usually Palo Alto kids have affluent families who can afford to hire Mike Armstrong (at Nolan Barton Armstrong) to get their kids into rehab, boot camps, or other programs in order to help make a reasonable deal. As a matter of policy the overcharging practices of the DA should be examined and should perhaps be an election issue at some point.

I hope that the full facts of this case are vetted by a jury and that Misael and the other students involved in this fight are able to move past this incident rather than be defined by it.

Posted by RussianMom, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 8, 2012 at 11:25 am

RussianMom is a registered user.

I am glad to read your remarks. Bullying is unacceptable and SHOULD BE stopped. He had a right to talk to someone before the accident occurred. I am sure Gunn staff will pay a close attention and take actions. But I am sick and tired of all the wHining about non-Caucasian kids, about school ignorance, etc. None, independently on race and family cucrifices do not have a right to be violent at school. Period. Sorry, but I don't feel for the boy in legal trouble, but consider victim being the guy who ended up in the hospital. and his statement 'I know why kids in PA end life in suicide' is very low class. My contra point is 'I know why some nice, struggling kids end up with shootings at school'. Sad story and dissapointed with all readers support of the boy..

Also, why all of a sudden you need to register to comment???

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 8, 2012 at 11:49 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

Dear Misael,

Please don't respond to this post, just read it and perhaps share it with your parents.

I'm very sorry for what happened. I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV ;-) But this is the thing: Besides your criminal lawyer, you may want to get a civil attorney to assist you and your family with how Gunn High School allegedly failed in their responsibility to protect you from being assaulted.

I hope that the unnecessarily aggressive DA's office sees this tempest in the teapot and does the right thing.

Hang in there, make your legal appointments and court dates your priority and see this thing through.

I'm sure that as you continue to mature & grow, you can put this behind you and will have learned a lot. I hope those who bullied you immediately mend their ways.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 8, 2012 at 11:59 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

RussianMom - those of us who don't know Misael have no idea if he's Caucasian or not. Hispanic is an ethnic group, not a racial group, like your being Russian is an ethnic group. Hispanics can be of any racial background while being Hispanic.

I also feel bad for the kid who went to the hospital & it's not clear if they were involved or not. The SJMN reports that the phone was found & it implied it wasn't stolen, so I certainly don't think this publication has all of the facts.

Posted by RussianMom, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm

RussianMom is a registered user.

Hmmm, as mentioned earlier, there is no difference what background the kid has. There is no place for violence and biting someone with stapler is a violent act.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

You brought up race, RussianMom & I corrected you because you seemed to think a Hispanic meant non-Caucasian, which isn't necessarily the case. I agree w/you, unless his ethnicity played a part in the incident. He didn't bite anyone w/the stapler, btw.

Posted by RussianMom, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 8, 2012 at 5:00 pm

RussianMom is a registered user.

Hmmm, funny and educational. Assaulted and knocked are better definitions.
Race/ ethnicity come to mind after the following comments, which seems you have no problem with:

I just love the comment - "This would not have been the same story if he had been a White student from a privileged background.".
Yep - The school would have probably "just" called his parents and expelled him for a week.

In my case I DON'T CARE if the person violating the law is white, black, green, purple or zebra - s/he needs to stopped and punished approprietry

Posted by glamorous, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 10, 2012 at 9:27 pm

glamorous is a registered user.

Ah, this article makes it seem more dramatic. They were all actually friends at first (due to obvious reasons they aren't anymore) and Misael accidentally hit the "second" victim and the person he got into an argument ducked, and that's how the "second" victim got hurt.

PS Gunn kids aren't crazy. People just seem to forget that teens do drugs and do crazy things they might not usually do.

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