The first day of school. The jitters. The new outfits. The new notebooks and new teachers and class schedules. A fresh start. And in the modern age, there are the obligatory posts on social media of our kids heading off to school for the first day, either on the bus or curbside delivery. Wasn’t our social media feeds full of those awesome pictures Thursday morning? First Day at LPS!
It changed abruptly.
The victim in today’s stabbing at Luther High School had her first day picture on Facebook. Within the first few minutes of her very first hour of high school, the 14-year-old child was the victim of a stabbing. The suspect is her classmate, another 14-year-old. Thursday night, the victim is fighting to recover (she is expected to recover, but she will have a long road of recovery) and the boy is in juvenile custody facing serious charges.
It was a four-inch serrated knife he is accused of “punching” her with, up to a dozen times during the first fifteen minutes of the school year. The victim has injuries to her shoulder, her back, her lung. We don’t know what led to it. School officials said they were blindsided. A surprise, they said.
The high school is forever changed, especially, the freshmen class who had as its members the victim and the suspect. They are the Class of 2022 who sat together this morning to hear the welcome and the rules from Principal Shawn Meek at his first day as the principal (he gained some experience as middle school principal last year and interim high school principal for a time three years ago).
Some students saw blood. Some saw it happen. Some are scared. Some parents and students say, “how can we go back?”
Some wonder if there is a policy that could outwit someone hellbent on hurting another? Having an armed personnel policy or a resource officer on campus, what might it have changed? Today, a brave and alert teacher/coach neutralized the situation with quick action. The teachers launched into action, calmly leading the students out the stage side of the auditorium and back to their classrooms in the other building. They led them away from where the victim awaited medical attention, and as the emergency responders were speeding to the scene, followed closely by parents who were receiving texts from their children. Soon after, the news helicopters would hover and the scene would be full of flashing lights and yellow crime tape.
Luther Police Chief David Randall told The Luther Register Thursday evening that his officers WILL BE AT THE SCHOOL for at least the next week. It doesn’t matter whether the school district and the Town of Luther have worked out how to pay for it. Uniformed and armed officers will be at the school. It was expected that at their respective September meetings, the Town and the School District would work out the terms of having a resource officer on campus. In addition, the school board passed an armed school personnel policy during the summer break, although not yet implemented.
The doors will be open to welcome the students back Friday morning (but locked during school hours). Brady Allen will be there. Another member of the Class of 2022, he was looking forward to ag class, and learning. But his first day of high school took a violent turn.
He described what happened at their morning assembly, “We were four minutes into it and were being told the rules of school and policies and stuff. Then everybody gasped.”
Allen, 14, was sitting behind the suspect. In front of the suspect was the victim.
“After that, one of the coaches went over and slammed him to ground so he would stop. She got up and walked away from him, not knowing what just happened. After he got done stabbing, he put the knife in the air,” he said.
Allen said the teachers were calm and orderly. They led the student body across the parking lot.
“We did what we needed to do,” he said. When asked if he had any words for parents who are worried, he said, “the school did what was right.”
We are #lutherstrong.