APTOS, Calif. (KION) -- A growing memorial outside Aptos High School marks the somber mood as students returned to campus Friday for the first time since tragedy struck. A 17-year-old, who was beginning his senior year, was stabbed and killed on campus Tuesday. Two more students are in juvenile hall for his murder.
Ongoing grief counseling is available to support students as they adjust to being back on campus.
"Walking in, the environment was really sad but I feel like as the day went on we tried to uplift each other," an Aptos High student told KION. "It was really nice for them to give us our own space to process our emotions and talk about our emotions if we felt comfortable."
Sheriff's deputies will also be at the school through at least the next week to make sure students and families feel safe.
"A family sent their child to school on Tuesday and they didn't make it back home. We want to be here to ensure that never happens again," said Santa Cruz County Sheriff's spokesperson Ashley Keehn.
The Pajaro Valley Unified School District voted to remove school resource officers from campuses just last year. They're now holding a meeting on September 15th to discuss bringing them back permanently. Students and parents we spoke to say it would make them feel more comfortable after this deadly incident.
"It's horrible for the kids, it's horrible for the parents. My wife cried when this was all going on and we didn't even know who was kid was. I think we need to get the Sheriffs back on campus. They were here in a positive way and the kids trusted them," said Carlos Luis, who has two kids attending Aptos High.
The Santa Cruz County District Attorney's office says the two suspects will be arraigned virtually in a juvenile court.
The student who was killed is not being identified out of respect for his family. A vigil is being held in his honor this Sunday at Romo Park in Watsonville starting at 10 a.m. The public is invited to join.