Two weeks ago, 18-year-old Abraham Lopez was charged with fatal stabbing his ex-girlfriend, 17-year-old Cindi Santana, in their high school's courtyard during lunch. Some have complained that the school didn't do enough to prevent the attack, so the school is now considering providing more education on dating violence.
According to the Associated Press, Lopez and Santana had been dating since ninth grade, but the seniors at South East High School had recently ended their relationship. Classmate Ruby Sarias said:
"The thing she told me is he seemed really obsessive. Like, she would tell me that even when they went together, he would get upset about her talking to other guys."
Lopez was arrested on September 25 under suspicion of making a criminal threat. Police documents say he told Santana he would send friends to beat up her sister's husband and threatened to distribute "intimate photographs" of her, but he was released a few days later for lack of evidence. Santana's mother warned school officials about Lopez's behavior, and Superindendent John Deasy says, "What we normally do is monitor his attendance, make the young girl as secure as possible." It's unclear what exactly that means, but Lopez never signed in on September 30, and made it past the school's random metal detector checks. In addition to murdering Santana, Lopez is accused of stabbing a dean and another student who tried to restrain him during the attack.
In response to the incident, today the Los Angeles Board of Education will consider a proposal that would expand programs that teach students to recognize abusive relationships. The L.A. Times reports that he $2 million proposal would involve hiring a district coordinator on dating violence and providing training for a staffer at each school.
Regardless of Santana's tragic death, there shouldn't really be a question about whether or not to implement the program. According to government research, about one in three teen girls in the U.S. has been abused by someone they've dated, and one in 10 high school students have been physically injured by their boyfriend or girlfriend. Santana may have put a face on the problem, but there are plenty of other students in the district (and elsewhere) who are still in abusive relationships.