St. Helena students to return after deadly school shooting | Kids “feeling uneasy”

ST. HELENA — The St. Helena College and Career Academy students return to school Tuesday, exactly one week after a deadly shooting at the school.

The shooting happened around 3 p.m. on Sept. 12. As school was letting out, a 14-year-old gunman opened fire on a vehicle with four students in the football stadium parking lot.

A 15-year-old student, who was in the car with the 14-yr-old, was killed.

The alleged gunman was charged with second-degree murder, aggravated second-degree battery, and illegal possession of a firearm in a school zone. His name has not been released due to his juvenile status.

St. Helena School District Superintendent Dr. Kelli Joseph gave an update during a news conference last week. She said the faculty returned to campus last Thursday and received grief counseling. Southeast Community Health Systems is providing support services for faculty and will be on-site when the students return on Sept. 19. The return date was pushed back to Tuesday after students were initially set to return to school on Friday, Sept. 15.

One St. Helena student said some kids are not feeling great about returning to school.

“The majority of us kids are simply feeling uneasy about starting school tomorrow,” the student said. “Everyone just hopes the various points of view and thoughts on the matter won’t impact how the school day runs and how we as a school will function in the future.”

The superintendent said there would be an elevated police presence on campus, and as of last Thursday, the school was upgrading the security cameras to the latest technology.

The school doesn’t have a resource officer, but a program called Community Action to Protect our Schools (CAPS) provides volunteers who help monitor the hallways to provide another layer of protection to the students, according to Joseph.

“The entire community is divided over the issue,” the student continued. “I only hope that the students, whichever side they may be on, can respect one another’s opinions and feelings and not allow them to interfere with our school day and education.”

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