The Balboa High School Shooting: A Student’s Perspective


Kevin M. Hume/S.F. Examiner

“I’ve never genuinely been scared for my life; nothing has ever put me in that much danger,” says Balboa High School student Mila de la Torre after the incident that occurred at her school in San Francisco on Thursday, August 30, 2018.

It was an average school day for teenage students at Balboa High School, up until a lockdown was announced over the school audio system identifying the suspect as “a black male in a red hoodie.” Students frantically fled to their designated hiding spots, following a well-taught procedure that students across America practice often in light of the 290 school shootings that have occurred since 2013.  

Prior to receiving instructions from police officers, the student body sat in silence for over an hour in their respective classrooms. As time passed, students became increasingly anxious about the situation. No one knew what was going on, and they were desperate for information. Some students began contacting their loved ones, worried that they wouldn’t make it out of their school alive that afternoon.

Officers investigating the event have since taken four suspects into custody, but have only charged one of them. This student is a freshman, who was allegedly playing with the weapon before it went off. “I feel like it’s really important to recognize that it wasn’t an active shooter with bad intentions. It was an accident, and three of the four arrested were arrested for no reason,” de la Torre claims.

The unnamed suspect is facing multiple felony weapon charges and has been booked into the San Francisco Juvenile Justice Center. This accident has created a sense of awareness for the San Francisco Unified School District, who is currently working to find a solution to the reoccurring issue of gun violence within schools. In an incident involving criminal activity within the school, SFUSD defers to the expertise of the San Francisco Police Department.

Students returned to school the day after the incident, but some are still feeling quite nervous. “Now I have a feeling of vulnerability that pervades everything,” says a student. “It feels like people can bring guns anywhere. No space is safe. That’s what scares me most.”