News


Teen charged with felony assault on Palo Alto High classmates

Student allegedly beat classmates with gun last year at a Menlo Park gathering

A 19-year-old from East Palo Alto faces felony charges after allegedly threatening and beating two Palo Alto High School classmates with a gun last year at a gathering in unincorporated Menlo Park.

Last December, Hector Guzman Alcantar, then 18, showed up with two other people around 3 a.m. to a gathering hosted by a Palo Alto High School classmate, then 20, who lives in unincorporated Menlo Park near Alpine Road. Another classmate had invited Alcantar via Snapchat, according to prosecutors at the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.

Shortly after one of the classmates started to roll a marijuana cigarette, Alcantar allegedly pulled a pistol out of his pants and pointed it at his two classmates.

Alcantar allegedly demanded that they give him marijuana and other possessions and proceeded to hit one of the classmates in the head repeatedly, and hit the other classmate in the head as well, according to prosecutors. The person hit repeatedly required medical attention at the Stanford Hospital emergency room.

Alcantar then left the scene with the two other people he'd brought, taking a red laptop and a large container of marijuana, prosecutors said.

Upon searching Alcantar's house later, authorities found an unregistered black pistol with a loaded magazine, prosecutors said.

Alcantar faces four felony charges: home invasion robbery, two counts of assault with a semi-automatic firearm, and criminal threats, with a series of enhancements that could lengthen his potential sentence.

The case has been scheduled for jury trial Oct. 15. He is not in custody after posting $100,000 bail.

Comments

32 people like this
Posted by Huh?
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 1, 2018 at 2:27 pm

quote from article...hosted by a Palo Alto High School classmate, then 20,


A 20 year old in high school? Was he held back for a couple of years or lacking the credits to graduate?

He probably should have been laying off the pot & hitting the books instead.


5 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 1, 2018 at 3:30 pm

$100,000 bail?


19 people like this
Posted by "gathering"
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 1, 2018 at 4:24 pm

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 1, 2018 at 4:43 pm

It sounds that these adults were still in Paly at the time? If that was the case then is there something wrong with the ages or the date?


7 people like this
Posted by Samuel L.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 1, 2018 at 4:55 pm

Samuel L. is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


16 people like this
Posted by No Pomp & Circumstance Ltd.
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 1, 2018 at 5:29 pm

[Post removed.]



17 people like this
Posted by FYI
a resident of Gunn High School
on Sep 1, 2018 at 6:17 pm

@No Pomp,
The kids who started school before the kindergarten start date (birthdate) was moved from December are still in the pipeline. My kid regularly was the youngest boy or one of the youngest students despite having a birthday halfway through. Boys were held back (“red-shirted”) to give them advantages academically and for sports. Often they could be up to 2years older than my son. Administrators regularly would encourage holding back students from starting school on time, as kindergarten became more academic. The change in kindergarten start date happened only a few years after my child started but those classes with the most redshirting are still in the upper high school grades, meaning, having students up to age 20 now in those classes woukd be expected.

Your comment is an ill-informed unsupported insult to a fairly sizable percentage of students who wish for five years of high school for legitimate personal or academic needs, including gifted students seeking a better education before college, students who were NOT redshirted and suffered cumulative disadvantages through the system and just want to be more mature when they graduate, and students who didn’t fit the mold or had personal setbacks and need more time. When five years is considered for high school, graduation rates go up significantly. Many schools in Oregon officially offer a fifth year of high school now. Why should the students who are old enough to know they need five years of high school be regarded negatively in comparison to students whose parents just held them back for the advantages against their classmates?

You are painting everyone with a broad brush. There are other older high school students in the current graduating class (and will be for the next few years) and there are many students legitimately taking five years for high school around the country for good and positive reasons. That has nothing to do with this case, in which we have no idea why the student is older than the nominal 18. Your comment is out of line and taking potshots without realizing that you are piling on to the challenges of students who know they need five years of high school in less enlightened districts like PAUSD and finding resistance. Kim Diorio couldn’t very well dismiss an older student when the staff pushed so strongly for so many families to hold back their students when this student was a kindergartner.


2 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 1, 2018 at 6:20 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Sep 1, 2018 at 6:43 pm

[Post removed.]


7 people like this
Posted by Samuel L.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 1, 2018 at 6:43 pm

Samuel L. is a registered user.

@FYI
Even with a "redshirt" year, 20 is awfully old to be in high school. My son did a Young Fives program and was still only 18 when he graduated, and he was one of the older kids in most of his classes. Even if he also took 5 years to graduate high school, that'd put him at 19 at graduation.

As an aside, it's more than just the boys that are "red shirted". That is a fairly ill-informed statement



7 people like this
Posted by Why Charged Now
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 1, 2018 at 7:11 pm

He was arrested back last December. Why is he only being charged now?


3 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 1, 2018 at 8:07 pm

Hah! Back in my day we had SIX years of High School. Three in Junior and three in Senior.


7 people like this
Posted by Frank
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 1, 2018 at 9:05 pm

First I must confess that my comment , like the others above, is really off topic for the article. I feel like I should be saying that I hope the victims are ok and thanking the police for arresting an apparently violent criminal. With that out of the way...

I have to plead ignorance to the concept of “redshirt” high school kids. I’d only heard of it in the context of college athletics. But maybe I’m old fashioned.

I can appreciate the idea of staying in HS longer if someone is not academically proficient due to learning a new language or a learning disability. But I have a hard time believing that the average student needs or wants to stay 5 years - much less a college bound, academically- proficient student.

There’s no shame in being “held back” - but let’s not pretend that’s not what it is.


12 people like this
Posted by Paly parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 1, 2018 at 9:33 pm

[Post removed.]


10 people like this
Posted by FYI
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 1, 2018 at 10:41 pm

FYI is a registered user.

@Samuel L.
If a child had an April or early May birthday and was started an academic year later, and was subsequently put in young 5’s for maturity, they would be 20 upon graduation. This is a scenario that does occur in this district, especially for children who are not considered compliant enough when they start. If your child had a summer or fall birthday, they would be 19 on graduation with the same scenario. If your child had a birthday just one day after graduation, and the first student had a birthday the day before graduation, that would be 19 versus 20 despite the students being born only a few days apart. Yes, those children are older, because no one thinks that through in the race to give their child an advantage. When my child was that age, Young5s was a choice program and the children who really needed it when the teachers had had their classes a few weeks and wished they could refer them, were locked out by those who chose it and may or may not have really needed it. I hope that has changed about the program.

I have seen children held back both at the start of school and middle school to high school, also a reason a child could be 20 in high school. Some of my child’s contemporaries in elementary were up 18 months to to two years older, and if my child had been born earlier in the year this could have been up to 2.5. The district provides no data on redshirting despite encouraging it heavily, and despite a significant change in classroom composition when the date to start school changed. I’m not following how your individual experience takes the place of actual numbers and data.

I also never claimed only boys are redshirted, you are the one reading that inappropriately into what I said. I only stated reasons that boys are redshirted, while also referring to “students”, i.e., all genders, and mentioning that my child was usually one of the youngest students (all genders implied) because of all the redshirting.

Since you held your own child back, I think it’s hypocritical to start casting aspersions on students for the age when they graduate, as if your own scenario represented the outer limit of what anyone should reasonably do. Just because the student in the article has committed crimes does not mean we can therefore jump to conclusions that there is anything nefarious in the student’s age, and it especially does not mean anyone should generalize from what he may have done to the diverse and positive population of students who choose five years of high school.

People who hold their kids back often do so because they are considering the future. They should not then punish the children who get to that future and decide for themselves to make the same choice when they are living it and know what they need.

@Frank,
Read Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers. I think it influenced an already heavy push to redshirt and explains why.


20 people like this
Posted by Sanctimonious City
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 2, 2018 at 12:39 am

Sanctimonious City is a registered user.

It is not the age it is the character. Most people of any age don't beat people up and rob them at gunpoint.


23 people like this
Posted by R.Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 2, 2018 at 8:38 am

R.Davis is a registered user.

QUOTE: When five years is considered for high school, graduation rates go up significantly.

A logical & somewhat foregone conclusion given the additional time to make up for certain coursework. BTW, attending summer school offers an opportunity to make up for 3-4 classes.


QUOTE: But I have a hard time believing that the average student needs or wants to stay 5 years - much less a college bound, academically- proficient student.

Tend to agree here as most kids look forward to getting out of high school and moving on. In retrospect, I do recall a few 19 year-old HS graduates...most were students who had either been held back a year in elementary school, had late December birthdays or were missing a few key HS course credits due to academic shortcomings.


5 people like this
Posted by FYI
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 2, 2018 at 2:05 pm

FYI is a registered user.

@R. Davis,
Like you, I do not believe students who want five years of high school are the majority. Nor do I think there is any evidence that the oldest kids on the curve are the majority. Nevertheless, there are older students in our schools because of redshirting; one cannot and should not draw negative conclusions about the students’ ages.

I also agree that most kids around here are eager to get out of school and move on. But I think that has more to do with the educational climate being a grind and highly regimented, with families having very little freedom. That has led to the birth of gap year, which is a kind of enforced rest after school. Nationally, however, students take five years for many reasons, including that they have learning or personal goals as high school students that only become possible where such a grind doesn’t exist, where they can really develop a love for learning in a supportive collaborative environment.

Many homeschoolers find that independent self-driven education allows for learning not possible even once kids go off to college, so adding a fifth year as necessary to improve maturity for college does not seem so undesirable as it does here where going to college finally means loosening the shackles of constant external direction from schoolwork.

Nationally, about 15 percent of community college students are dual enrollment, and graduation plus subsequent four-year college graduation is quite high. More and more students are starting to blur the lines between college and high school, and they are often doing it for the educational choices and freedom they get. Many of these students live at home. There are many high-school-to-college five year programs out there for high achieving students, too. While it’s true that locally most students are anxious to move on to college, itis also true that nationally, especially among the independently educated, there is a small but not negligible percentage of students who want five years of high school for positive reasons.

I do wish the local schools would look at how well (or not) they serve gifted and creative students, and how they negatively impact family life in ways that are unnecessary for providing a good education. I suspect if joy and autonomy were more prevalent in our educational system locally, more kids would be looking forward to college as a continuation of a love of learning rather than just a way to make the mind-numbing grind stop. More might be willing to take a year if they need it for maturity - way too many go on to college and have to come home after the first year to recover from burnout.

At any rate, as was said above, the age of these students is not the issue here, it is their character and behavior.


20 people like this
Posted by R.Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 2, 2018 at 5:37 pm

R.Davis is a registered user.

QUOTE: It is not the age it is the character. Most people of any age don't beat people up and rob them at gunpoint.

QUOTE: At any rate, as was said above, the age of these students is not the issue here, it is their character and behavior.


In which case, a public high school may not be the ideal environment for certain individuals to complete their 12th grade education.


1 person likes this
Posted by Sea Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 3, 2018 at 1:25 pm

Sea Reddy is a registered user.

Hope these adult children learn from this.
No way to start life with these difficulties.
I pray for them.


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