School Climate & Safety

Minn. District Gets Ready to Welcome Students Back After High School Shootings

By Rhea R. Borja — April 12, 2005 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The school board for Minnesota’s Red Lake school district, whose high school was the site of a March 21 attack by a student gunman, voted unanimously April 6 to reopen its schools this week.

However, the re-opening may be delayed yet again as the Federal Bureau of Investigation was reportedly searching the high school for a gun.

Students at the 355-student Red Lake High School were scheduled to resume classes April 11 in the older section of the high school building, away from the heavily damaged wing in which 16-year-old Jeff Weise shot and killed five students, a teacher, and a school security guard, before killing himself.

The middle and high school students were scheduled to attend half-days this week. However, they will not go to school on Friday, because the 1,481- student district wants to use April 15 to let teachers plan for the weeks ahead, said Kathryn “Jody” Beaulieu, a Red Lake school board member. Elementary school students were scheduled to resume their normal full-day schedules this week.

District officials on the remote American Indian reservation postponed a traditional healing ceremony outside the school after news of the FBI weapon search.

That ceremony would have marked the first time most students, teachers and parents had entered the school since Mr. Weise burst through the doors minutes before the end of a school day.

Seeking Normalcy

Red Lake school board members made their decision to reopen schools after a former Kentucky principal, whose school was also the site of a deadly shooting by a student, spoke to them and local educators last week about beginning anew.

Bill Bond was the principal of Heath High School in West Paducah, Ky., on Dec. 1, 1997. That’s the day a 14-year-old student shot eight other students. Three of them died. The gunman, Michael Carneal, pleaded guilty and is serving a life sentence in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years.

Mr. Bond counseled Red Lake administrators and teachers on how to conduct the first days back at school, such as how to engage students, yet be sensitive to any emotional trauma they’re experiencing.

He is now a school violence consultant for the National Association of Secondary School Principals, based in Reston, Va., and has visited the sites of five other school shootings since 1997.

“The kids need to come back and … get back to some normalcy,” Mr. Bond said. “It’s really important that the kids have a connection with this school and with their teachers.”

One task students won’t have to worry about is taking state standardized tests this spring, the Minnesota education commissioner ruled.

Related Tags:


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Start Strong With Solid SEL Implementation: Success Strategies for the New School Year
Join Satchel Pulse to learn why implementing a solid SEL program at the beginning of the year will deliver maximum impact to your students.
Content provided by Satchel Pulse
Teaching Live Online Discussion Seat at the Table: How Can We Help Students Feel Connected to School?
Get strategies for your struggles with student engagement. Bring questions for our expert panel. Help students recover the joy of learning.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Science Webinar
Real-World Problem Solving: How Invention Education Drives Student Learning
Hear from student inventors and K-12 teachers about how invention education enhances learning, opens minds, and preps students for the future.
Content provided by The Lemelson Foundation

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety Opinion This Is What Happens to a Student’s Brain When Exposed to Gun Violence
Traumatized and hypervigilant brains cannot learn effectively, write a behavioral neuroscientist and a school psychologist.
Amanda M. Dettmer & Tammy L. Hughes
5 min read
Conceptual illustration of a lone figure standing in a sea of bullets
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Jorm Sangsorn/iStock; Getty images
School Climate & Safety From Our Research Center What Would Make Schools Safer? Here's What Educators Say
Respondents to a national survey of educators said measures like red flag laws, more school counselors are key to any school safety law.
7 min read
Photograph of crime scene tape and school.
F.Sheehan/Education Week and Getty
School Climate & Safety From Our Research Center 'The World Feels Less Stable': Educators' Sense of School Safety Right Now
6 in 10 educators said a mass shooting by a student or outsider was their biggest source of fear.
7 min read
Woman standing on a paper boat with a tsunami wave approaching.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
School Climate & Safety Texas Top Cop: Uvalde Police Could Have Ended Rampage Early On
The head of the Texas state police pronounced the law enforcement response an “abject failure.”
5 min read
FILE - Law enforcement, and other first responders, gather outside Robb Elementary School following a shooting, on May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. Law enforcement authorities had enough officers on the scene of the Uvalde school massacre to have stopped the gunman three minutes after he entered the building, the Texas public safety chief testified Tuesday, June 21 pronouncing the police response an “abject failure.”(AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills, File)