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Scripps Ranch residents worried about mentally ill neighbor near school

Parents of students at Jerabek Elementary and other community members say they're trying to be pro-active and prevent a tragedy.

SAN DIEGO — A group of Scripps Ranch parents say they've spent more than a year struggling to deal with a man they say is a threat to their kids and their school, and they want help.  

Parents of students at Jerabek Elementary and other community members say they're trying to be pro-active and prevent a tragedy. 

It's just one of the school's parents we talked to today say has been targeted by a man they say has a history of mental illness. 

We're working for you on this story and went to Scripps Ranch to talk to the parents who ask how long until they should report red flags before something is done to keep their kids safe.  

Gisselle Naverez is a parent with a student at Jerabek Elementary.  

"Every morning, tears come to my face when I send him to school, and I don't think neighbors should feel like this. (emotion) I don't understand what we're going to end up with,” said Naverez.  

Kate fears for her and her family’s safety so she wants to remain anonymous.  

"I can tell you for sure that the 650 parents at Jerabek are scared. I'm scared. I'm scared to send my child to school, " said Kate. 

She says she hasn't sent her daughter to school because it's not safe.  

"And she looked at me, dead in the eyes and said, 'That man that tried to come to Jerabek, does he have a gun?' And I said, 'I don't know. I hope he doesn't. I can tell you for sure the day he came to school, and we got a photo of him, there were 6 or 7 parents who didn't send their kids to school because we believed he's in acute mental health crisis and we don't know what he's going to do," said Kate.  

CBS 8 has obtained three emails from Jerabek Elementary School warning parents and students. 
 
A CBS 8 viewer reached out for help because they say have been struggling to get action from San Diego Unified School District. After several incidents on different school campuses, a nearby park, around Scripps Ranch from a man who Jerabek school emails say has a history of mental illness.  

They say he was harassing students and parents and there are two reports of him trying to lure students into his car. 

CBS 8 obtained a copy of a police report where the man in question was arrested for showing a knife to a juvenile at Jerabek Elementary on May 13.  

"We have every red flag. We want to prevent tragedy. We want to be proactive. We don't want to look back and say, 'We already knew what was going to happen,’" said Kate. 

Erik lives in the area and organized a petition with more than 1,100 signatures from parents, students and neighbors in the area.  

"I'm sick. Especially with what's in the news right now. We don't want this to happen," said Erik. 

Anna lives in the area as well. She says she’s been aware of the situation for months and offered her services to help get a restraining order, but the school declined her offer.  

"They seem to think that waiting for the criminal case to get resolved and trying to get protection in the criminal case is sufficient. I do not think it's sufficient," said Anna.  

CBS 8 reached out to San Diego Unified School District for comment on this story.  

They responded with the following statement:  

"Our top priority as a school district is the safety and security of all students and staff. The district is actively working in conjunction with School Police, San Diego Police Department (SDPD), and the San Diego City Attorney’s Office to ensure the safety of our schools and to address concerns at the same time this case is addressed within the judicial system.  

In response to a petition from community members we are sharing some of the steps that have been taken: 

  • Full cooperation and assistance with the San Diego City Attorney’s Office and SDPD 
  • Provide additional security with increased School Police patrols during school hours  
  • Ongoing communication with family members of the person who made alleged threats 
  • Ongoing review of safety protocols and systems, including existing security cameras 
  • Should a gun violence restraining order be needed, that can be requested by a law enforcement officer or the prosecutor.  
  • Renewal of the prior stay-away order is in process 
  • Advised our site administrators to call the police department if the person attempts to enter a campus. Under the Penal Code, any person who enters a school campus for an improper purpose or violates a stay-away order is subject to arrest in the same manner as someone who has violated a restraining order. 

San Diego Unified will continue to respond to any potential threat and will work with law enforcement to ensure the safety and security of students and staff." 

WATCH RELATED: Lockdown lifted at 4S Ranch area schools | Here's what we know (May 2022)

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